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FCC Allows Maryland Public Television to Use Industrial Microwave Service

In an action that could affect other state-run public broadcasting networks, the FCC granted Maryland Public Television (MPT) a waiver of Sections 101.109(c0, 101.147(l)(7), and 101.603(a)(7) of the FCC rules, approving fixed point-to-point microwave licenses in the Microwave Industrial/Business Pool to be used in Maryland for distributing TV programming as well as other statewide services.

The microwave system consists of 21 paths serving 14 sites across Maryland. Four of the proposed paths will carry both TV programming for their respective station TV transmitters and data for various Maryland state agencies. Section 101.603(a)(7) prohibits use of Industrial/Business Pool microwave links as the final RF link the chain of distribution of program material for broadcasting. Sections 101.109(c) and 101.147(l)(7) limit the maximum bandwidth in the upper 6 GHz band to 10 MHz. MPT, operating arm of the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission (MPBC), sought a waiver to use 30 MHz bandwidth on paths between Crownsville and Matapeake, Md.

The FCC found "MPBC has established that no reasonable alternative exists to its use of frequencies in the 6 GHz band. The engineering analyses of the paths submitted by MPBC demonstrate that path reliability in the 11 GHz band does not meet industry standards. At the same time, MPBC has demonstrated that in the 6 GHz band, only the frequencies at
6695.00 MHz and 6855.00 MHz are available to MPBC. We conclude, in view of the foregoing, that, pursuant to Section 1.925(b)(3)(ii) of the Commission's Rules, that grant of the waivers would be in the public interest."

For more information on the Maryland Public Broadcasting microwave system and the FCC's grant of that application, see Memorandum Opinion and Order DA 06-385.