FCC takes action affecting returned TV spectrum

The FCC has taken action on two issues affecting returned TV spectrum and has issued a Notice of Inquiry for comments regarding its yearly report to Congress, "Annual Assessment of the Status of Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming."

Low-power devices

The FCC has adopted a First Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking taking the first steps toward allowing new low-power devices to operate in the broadcast TV spectrum at locations where channels in that spectrum are not in use by TV stations or other authorized services. This action will enable the development of new business and consumer devices.

In the First Report and Order, the commission concluded that fixed low-power devices could be allowed to operate on TV channels in areas where those frequencies are not being used for TV or other incumbent licensed services. The exclusion includes TV channels 37 and 52 through 69, as well as channels 14 through 20, which are used by public safety service in 13 cities.

The commission made detailed technical proposals to facilitate use of a dynamic frequency selection (DFS) mechanism to ensure that TV band devices operate only on vacant TV channels.


The FCC granted in part a Petition for Declaratory Ruling filed by Qualcomm regarding the requirements for interference protection in the 700MHz band. Because Qualcomm’s licenses cover TV/DTV channel 55 of the 700MHz band, the company must protect broadcasters on channels 54, 55 and 56 from interference using the criteria set forth in the FCC’s rules.

But in doing so, the FCC acted on Qualcomm’s petition seeking relief from certain provisions of these interference protection rules. First, the FCC declared that Office of Engineering and Technology Bulletin No. 69 (OET-69), with certain modifications, is an appropriate methodology for demonstrating whether the MediaFLO system complies with the FCC’s rules on interference protection in the 700MHz band

Second, the FCC declined Qualcomm’s request to declare that predicted interference to no more than 2 percent of the population served by a TV/DTV station is acceptable; however, the FCC granted Qualcomm a limited waiver using a measured approach where the allowable predicted interference to a TV/DTV station’s service caused by the MediaFLO system will increase incrementally each year from the release of the order until the end of the DTV transition in February 2009.

Finally, Qualcomm had requested that the FCC establish streamlined processing procedures for any OET-69 showings, which the FCC declined.

The FCC continues to request comments on related issues.

For more information, visit www.fcc.gov.