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Broadband Expansion May Threaten Satellite Radio


RF Report has had many stories about the danger of interference to broadcast operations from white space devices and recently unlicensed wireless microphones in the TV band. An article last weekend shows that satellite radio broadcasters are also concerned about interference from adjacent spectrum.

The article, Will the FCC Interfere With Sirius XM Yet Again? on Satwaves.com discusses a plan the FCC is proposing which would lessen interference protection requirements for wireless communications service (WCS) using spectrum adjacent to the 2320-2345 MHz band allocated to Sirius XM Radio's satellites and terrestrial transmitters

The Satnews.com article points out that the WCS spectrum was auctioned on the condition that the service not interfere with satellite radio, noting the FCC even cautioned bidders that protecting satellite radio may "make mobile operations in the WCS spectrum technically infeasible."

Satnews.com includes comments in a letter to FCC Chairman Genechowski from Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin about the new WCS proposal.

"We are extremely disturbed by the proposal," said Karmazin. "The proposed rules seem to bear little resemblance to the technical record in this proceeding. More importantly, the proposal raises the real and direct threat of crippling interference to our 35 million current listeners and the 90 million satellite radio-equipped vehicles that will share the road with mobile WCS by 2015."

Karmazin expressed additional concern about damage to the satellite-delivered radio service.

"We were told bluntly that the staff proposal would enable the deployment of WCS 'usage models' that would cause interference to satellite radio consumers," he said. "The staff proposal for WCS mobile transmitters in the C and D blocks--the blocks immediately adjacent to our satellites--would double the power levels the WCS licensees themselves asked for, and would exceed the levels the WCS licensees themselves demonstrated in Ashburn, Virginia."

While Sirius XM was told that WCS licensees would bear the ultimate responsibility to avoid interference, no details were provided on the coordination or complaint process to identify and eliminate interference.

"This entire process presumes that consumers would complain instead of just discontinuing their subscriptions," Karmazin said. "Any such cumbersome, after-the-fact system would not work to protect consumers and would place the Commission in the impossible role of policing interference to all of our subscribers."

Satnews.com urged Sirius XM subscribers, listeners, investors or "just a concerned American over the abuse of government" to file comments with the FCC.

You can read more about this or file your own comments using the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). On the Search for Filings page enter 07-293 in the top box labeled "Proceeding".

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.