MSTV, NAB seek reconsideration of 2GHz relocation plan

The reallocation of spectrum in the 2GHz band for use by mobile satellite service (MSS) providers and third-generation mobile phone service violates “key precepts” of administrative law and “is inconsistent with the public interest,” according to a petition filed with the FCC this month by the Association for Maximum Service Television and the National Association of Broadcasters.

The associations’ filing claims that stations in markets 31-210 will experience harm because they will be required to vacate two BAS channels without “receiving any compensation or adequate assurance of future compensation.”

According to the petition, the Commission’s relocation plan failed in three areas:

  1. It underestimates the harm the plan will cause to local news operations in markets outside the top 30;
  2. It underestimates the disruption that will be caused to ENG operations across markets operating on different channel plans;
  3. It does not comprehend that new entrants will have little incentive to compensate BAS incumbents that have already vacated reallocated spectrum.

It proposes the Commission remedy these problems by adopting a plan that fairly balances the needs and interests of the incumbents, the new entrants and the public.

Specifically, the associations have called on the Commission to issue a brief Public Notice seeking expedited comment on alternate plans that serve the competing goals of preserving incumbent services and facilitating mobile satellite service access to the 2GHz spectrum.

The associations want to see any new plan minimize up-front costs to MSS by spreading relocation costs across all new entrants not by burdening the incumbents. They also are requesting the Commission develop a plan that puts enforcement teeth into compensating incumbents by placing conditions on MSS entrants’ licenses which will cause automatic revocation if the entrants fail to pay their share of costs of relocating BAS incumbents.

The petition requests that if the Commission revises the plan but maintains the need for dual-channel operation as opposed to simultaneous relocation of BAS incumbents in all markets, it should clarify aspects of the relationship of licensees operating under the old and new channel plans.

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