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FCC Reallocates Channel 16 in NYC to Public Safety Communications

The FCC has made permanent the assignment of TV Channel 16 (482-488 MHz) to the land mobile service for public safety communication in the New York City Metropolitan Area. Prior to the Report and Order FCC 04-80 released April 9, this use of Channel 16 had been allowed on a temporary basis, starting in 1995 "for a period of at least five years or until a television broadcast station in the New York City Metropolitan Area
initiates use of Channel 16 for advanced television broadcast operations, whichever was longer."

Petitioners urged the FCC to make the channel 16 allocation permanent, expressing concern that the substantial investments made in public safety communications systems in the area could be jeopardized if a party petitioned the FCC to assign Channel 16 for DTV in the Hudson River Valley.

Two TV stations on Channel 17 are affected by the Report and Order. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under which Class A TV station WEBR-CA on Channel 17 and the public safety agencies are obligated to resolve their interference concerns.

Tribune station WPHL, Channel 17 in Philadelphia, has an out of core DTV assignment and will need to return to Channel 17 at the end of the DTV transition. The Report and Order said, "Tribune is concerned that this reallocation will not provide full protection to the potential maximized use of its DTV facilities on Channel 17. Tribune's concerns are based on speculation about its possible future service and the possible future use of Channel 16 by Petitioners."

The FCC said that "This reallocation is granted based on the existing limits on the land mobile use of Channel 16 that are reflected in the 1995 Waiver Order that established the temporary waiver." The commission added that it had also considered Tribune's current operations in it decision and affected parties can notify the FCC of their concerns if future operations change.

The Report and Order revised Sections 73.623(a), 73.6020, and 74.709(a) of the Rules to reflect the assignment of Channel 16 for public safety land mobile use in the New York Metropolitan area. It also corrected omissions in two rules sections by adding entries for TV Channels 15 and 16 in Cleveland, TV Channels 16 and 17 in Detroit, and TV Channel 16 in Los Angeles.

For more details on the rule changes and the decisions involving WPHL and WEBR-CA, refer to the Report and Order FCC 04-80.