Commission grants waiver, deadline extension to DTVN

The FCC granted a request Sept. 30 from DTV Norwich (DTVN) seeking a waiver and extension of divestiture deadline for WQBD526, MVD001-New York.

DTVN holds 45 Multichannel Video Distribution and Data Service (MVDDS) licenses, including WQBD526, MVD001-New York for the New York service area. Cablevision Systems holds an interest in DTVN. This is not allowed under commission’s rules because Cablevision operates a cable system overlapping the license area of DTVN’s New York MVDDS license.

The purpose of the MVDDS/cable cross-ownership rule is to prevent cable operators from precluding the entry of new Multichannel Video Program Distributors (MVPDs) and thereby limiting competition.

In September 2004, the FCC Broadband Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, granted DTVN the license on the condition that it come into compliance with the cross-ownership rule within 360 days.

A spin-off of DTVN, which would have put the licensee into compliance with the rule, did not occur as anticipated. DTVN subsequently has filed and received five successive 360-day extensions. According to the FCC, it granted each extension after concluding that doing so would encourage DTVN to continue efforts to promote MVDD development, particularly in light of a lack of equipment to support the service.

In asking for the most recent extension, DTVN described a series of initiatives it is taking to promote the development of MVDD service and the 12GHz equipment needed to launch the wireless broadband, voice, video and data service. DTVN also told the commission that granting the extension would be in the public interest as it will help facilitate the efficient long-term deployment of the service.

In granting the request, the Broadband Division noted that since commercial MVDDS equipment is not available and no one has yet commercially deployed MVDDS in the country, extending the deadline for DTVN would not preclude entry or limit competition in the New York market.