In July, Sprint-Nextel and broadcasters completed the reallocation of 35 MHz of spectrum from the 2 GHz broadcast auxiliary service (BAS). This spectrum will be used for satellite and terrestrial wireless broadband. Later in the year, the FCC issued a Notice of Inquiry and a Notice of Proposed Rule Making that would allow common carrier, private radio, and other users to share BAS microwaves in the 7 and 13 GHz bands. The proposed band plan would also narrow channels to allow more efficient spectrum use.
While broadcasters would also be able to use FCC Part 101 bands reserved for other services for their final links, in many urban areas those bands are as congested as the BAS bands.
Stations need to monitor the FCC proposal and be prepared--in the event that their fixed links need to be modified or replaced to meet potential spectrum efficiently requirements. Most importantly, all BAS licensees need to make sure their license information and the information in the FCC ULS database is correct and complete. If the proposed rules are adopted, other users would be required to protect broadcast links. However, if the licenses and database information is inaccurate, or receive sites are not listed, broadcasters may lose protection on their current frequencies and find few, if any, alternatives.
Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.
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