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FCC Open Meeting to Include Digital Cable and Microwave Spectrum Issues

The FCC released a tentative agenda for its August open meeting and the two items on it are likely to be of interest to any cable subscriber watching or recording digital cable programs without a set-top box, and to broadcasters who will be sharing broadcast auxiliary microwave spectrum in the 7 and 13 GHz bands with non-broadcasters. 

The first item on the agenda is a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks to modernize our cable television rules to facilitate the cable industry's widespread transition from analog to digital transmission systems.” 

One of the issues previously raised is whether or not must-carry broadcast stations have to be carried unencrypted on digital cable TV systems and that item is likely be discussed in the NPRM. 

The second item is a “Second Report and Order, Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Second Notice of Inquiry, Order on Reconsideration, and Memorandum Opinion and Order that seeks to remove regulatory barriers to make better use of Fixed Service (FS) spectrum and provide additional flexibility to enable FS licensees to reduce operational costs and facilitate the use of wireless backhaul in rural areas.” 

While it isn't clear the new rules will impact Part 101 use of broadcast auxiliary spectrum directly, making it easier for FS licensees to more efficiently use non-broadcast Part 101 bands could reduce the need for FS licensees to move into the 7 and 13 GHz BAS bands. 

Doug Lung

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.