FCC gives Qualcomm's MediaFLO permission to begin service

The FCC last week gave permission to Qualcomm to begin use of its MediaFLO mobile TV system provided it avoids interfering with existing terrestrial broadcast stations.

MediaFLO uses spectrums in the 700MHz broadcast band and plans to transmit video, audio and data to mobile phones on channel 55. The FCC allowed the service to begin provided that Qualcom protect broadcasters on UHF TV channels 54, 55 and 56 from interference.

Qualcomm had asked the commission for a declaratory ruling that its procedure was acceptable for measuring possible interference from broadcasters who will be in the band through February 2009, the end of the DTV transition.

The FCC gave its OK to the methodology, but established a more restrictive .5 percent interference threshold for the first year, with gradual escalations after that. Qualcomm had requested a 2 percent threshold.

The FCC also said Qualcomm was not permitted to cause new interference with any broadcast facility that was entitled to protection and either already experienced interference to 10 percent or more of its Grade B service population, or would experience interference in excess of 10 percent of its Grade B population as a result of MediaFLO

With the latest rulings, predictions are that Qualcomm will start service sometime in the first quarter of 2007.