TV Spectrum Reallocation Items on November Agenda

WASHINGTON: Reallocating broadcast spectrum for wireless broadband is now a formal action item for the Federal Communications Commission. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on TV spectrum is the number one agenda item for the FCC’s next regular meeting, scheduled for Nov. 30. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced it was coming two weeks ago at a spectrum summit in Washington.

The NPRM will open up the possibility of more than one station sharing a single 6 MHz channel assignment, and seek feedback on improving VHF reception. It was also expected lay out a structure by which broadcasters will be remunerated for voluntarily relinquishing spectrum. This incentive auction strategy is not mentioned in the FCC’s agenda release, issued today:

“TV Spectrum Innovation NPRM: A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on rules to facilitate the most efficient use of the UHF and VHF TV bands. These proposals, an important step toward the agency’s spectrum goals as outlined in the National Broadband Plan, would remove a host of obstacles to mobile broadband use within spectrum currently reserved for use by TV broadcasters, including through innovations such as channel sharing and generating increased value within the VHF band.”

The other two items on the November agenda include an NPRM on expanding experimental spectrum licensing, and a Notice of Inquiry on secondary markets:

Experimental Licensing NPRM: A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on proposed rules to facilitate greater experimentation in the wireless space. The NPRM suggests making the Commission’s experimental licensing rules more flexible, including by easing testing restrictions on universities, research organizations, and other institutions that are developing new wireless services and devices. The goal is that the resulting testbeds would encourage innovation and help speed the time to market for new technologies.

Opportunistic Use NOI: A Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on ways to accelerate “opportunistic use” of underdeveloped spectrum in both licensed and unlicensed bands, including how technological innovations can effectively foster secondary markets.
-- Deborah D. McAdams