MSTV urges aviation regulator to work with FCC

The Association for Maximum Service Television filed a petition with the Federal Aviation Administration telling the regulator that proposed its rule change affecting VHF broadcasters are not needed and that the information the FAA seeks is available from the Federal Communications Commission.
Publish date:

The Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV) has objected to proposed changes to rules by the Federal Aviation Administration that would amount to “a drastic and unprecedented expansion of the FAA’s authority over FCC licensees.”

In comments filed Sept. 11, 2006, MSTV told the aviation regulator that its proposal to require broadcasters to notify it when building new VHF towers, modifying an existing tower or changing authorized frequency or powers or antenna specifications would “unnecessarily and improperly interfere with the FCC’s efforts to regulate the use of VHF spectrum.”

The MSTV filing also took aim at the proposed use of unlicensed wireless devices on so-called unused VHF channels, saying they pose a far greater risk to aviation safety than licensees in the VHF band.

According to the association, the proposed rules “ignore the much more critical EMI risks associated with unlicensed radio operations proposed to operate in these same television frequencies.”

“In contrast to licensed frequency users, however, unlicensed operators would be subject to sparse, inadequate regulation and are not required to register their technical and operating parameters with the FCC,” the MSTV filing said.

In mid September, MSTV published a report on the likelihood of harmful interference from unlicensed wireless devices to DTV transmissions. (See: “Report documents the interference unlicensed devices would cause TV receivers.”)

The association told the FAA that its proposed rule changes “unnecessarily and improperly interfere with the FCC’s efforts to regulate the use of VHF spectrum.” Additionally, because the FCC already requires broadcasters to make appropriate filings when wishing to build new VHF transmission towers or make changes to existing facilities, the proposed FAA rules would duplicate the regulatory compliance burden broadcasters face.

The filing said, "…it would be substantially more efficient for FAA to obtain this information from the FCC directly than for it to require thousands of FCC licensees across the country to make repetitive filings."

The Society of Broadcast Engineers separately filed comments on the proposed rules. (See: “SBE responds to FAA notice.")