Commission should reserve 100kHz for EAS communications

The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) last week requested that the FCC set aside 100kHz in the 700MHz D-block spectrum for nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) use.

In comments filed June 18, the SBE suggested the spectrum should be divided into two 50kHz blocks — one from the D-block spectrum in the upper band and one from the lower band.

As envisioned by the society, the spectrum could be divided into channels and reused nationwide to provide interference-free communications from federal, state and local emergency operating centers to broadcasters and cable operators.

In its filing, the SBE told the commission that “this is a once in a lifetime opportunity” for the FCC to show leadership in supporting the data capabilities of an EAS enhanced by the common alert protocol (CAP). CAP provides for enhanced emergency messaging; however, delivering those enhanced messages requires “a backchannel multipoint distribution system” rather than relaying messages from station to station as is currently the case, the society said.

The SBE proposed that bands 758MHz-758.05MHz and 792.95MHz-793MHz be set aside for exclusive nationwide EAS use and licensed to state and local emergency management agencies.

As the commission moves forward with plans for a reauction of the 700MHz D-block spectrum — following the failure of the initial auction to meet the commission’s minimum required bid — the FCC should give “serious consideration” to the SBE’s proposal, the group’s filing said.

Setting aside 100kHz for this use “will have little impact on the reauction process since it amounts to 1 percent of the spectrum in the D-block,” it said. However, doing so will greatly improve future EAS implementation.

To read the filing, visit