OMVC urges Martin to protect mobile broadcast receivers from interference

A coalition of broadcasters promoting the development of mobile TV systems that reside in broadcasters’ 6MHz channels asked FCC Chairman Kevin Martin yesterday to reject letting unlicensed devices operate in DTV spectrum “unless there is fully effective protection against interference” to mobile broadcast services.

The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), an alliance of hundreds of commercial and public TV broadcasters, also asked the chairman to include mobile broadcast receivers in any further FCC testing of unlicensed TV band white space devices aimed at determining the potential of unlicensed devices to create harmful interference.

In its filing, the OMVC reminded the chairman that any system ultimately used to broadcast digital television to mobile broadcast receivers will embed the service into broadcasters’ 19.4Mb/s digital streams. Mobile broadcasting “will efficiently and responsibly use the spectrum licensed to local television broadcasters,” the group said. These devices will only receive, not transmit signals, “so in giving consumers a new option for viewing digital television they will fully protect existing, fixed receivers from interference.”

Pointing to the failure of prototypes tested this summer by the FCC to reliably detect the presence of DTV signals, the filing asserted that mobile broadcast receivers “will be particularly susceptible to interference” from these types of devices and that allowing such interference “would put the U.S. at a disadvantage to other developed countries.” The letter pointed to the success of mobile broadcast receivers in Japan and South Korea, as well as active development of a common strategy in Europe.

Television broadcast has proven its value in serving the public interest, the coalition said. “The added dimension of mobile reception enabled through DTV technology is an essential consumer value and public service aspect of the DTV broadcast transition and must not be compromised,” it said.

If broadcasters are to succeed in offering this new service to the public, the commission “must ensure that unlicensed devices do not prevent consumers from receiving mobile broadcasts,” OMVC said.