Skip to main content

FCC Tackles Translator-MVPD Site White Space Interference

The FCC this week released Order (DA 12-845) regarding requests from 18 parties to waive Section 15.712(b) of the FCC Rules to allow registration of certain low-power TV and multichannel video program distributor (MVPD) receive sites that are more than 80 km outside the protected contour of the TV stations received. 

The FCC granted all of the waiver requests, except for registration of receive sites for K15FQ-D and K28EA, which were not listed in the FCC's Dec. 28, 2011 public notice. 

In another decision important for broadcasters, the FCC Order also granted a waiver to permit registration of five University of Utah receive sites that receive off-air television signals as a backup to other methods. 

The Order noted that fixed broadcast auxiliary microwave links may receive a TV signal to retransmit to another location on microwave frequencies. Protection is provided for these sites, but one county found that the Commission's ULS database is not capable of storing information on multiple TV channels received by microwave links. 

The FCC decided there isn’t a sufficient number of microwave stations that receive off-air TV channels to warrant changing the ULS, but said it addressed the issue in its Feb. 14, 2012 meeting with TV bands database administrators when it advised them “that point-to-point stations that retransmit TV signals received over-the-air are to be treated in the same manner as MVPDs.”

Microwave link operators are to be allowed to register their receive site information directly with one of the TV bands database administrators using the administrator's MVPD registration facility.

The FCC denied a request from Google that the protection zone for off-air receive sites that require a waiver be narrower than the protection zone afforded receive sites that do not require a waiver, finding that such proposal was beyond the scope of this Order. 

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.