FCC Prepares for 2015 World Radiocommunications Conference

While the FCC has the power to allocate U.S. spectrum, radio waves don't stop at the country’s borders. Representatives from nations around the world meet at World Radiocommunication Conferences to allocate spectrum world-wide. The next conference will be held in 2015 and the FCC has established an Advisory Committee for the 2015 event (WRC-15) to provide recommendations for the conference. It has also released a Public Notice seeking comment on the recommendations that have been approved by the WRC-15 Advisory Committee. These encompass spectrum below the AM broadcast band up to the microwave band frequencies used in satellite communications.

In reviewing the latest Recommendations, I found one item that may be of interest to TV broadcasters.

While broadcasters may question the FCC's support for TV broadcasting, there’s a WRC-15 Advisory Committee recommendation in response to proposals to increase wireless broadband spectrum. It states: “To achieve these objectives, the United States proposes modifications to the Radio Regulations that would add an allocation to the mobile services and an identification for IMT [International Mobile Telecommunications] in the range 694/698-890 MHz. The United States also proposes retention of the primary allocation to the Broadcasting Service in the 470-890 MHz frequency range, including the mandatory application of Article Number 9.21, which would ensure that the existing services, such as broadcasting, maintain coordination priority (i.e., retain their first-in time primary status or remain super-primary) vis-à-vis IMT systems.”

As this approach seems at odds with some FCC efforts, broadcasters may want to consider filing comments supporting the Advisory Committee's position.

With respect to the 2 GHz broadcast auxiliary services band, a reason for the recommended position on use of this spectrum states, “ITU-R studies have shown that sharing is not feasible between International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) systems and systems of incumbent services in the 2 025-2 110 MHz band.”

The WRC-15 Advisory Committee has come up with recommendations for new spectrum for amateur radio operators, increased spectrum for satellite communication and much more. To read all of the recommendations and find out how to comment on them, see Public Notice DA 14-88: FCC Seeks Comment on Recommendations Approved by the Advisory Committee for the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference, Attachment1: Recommendations presented at 27 January 2014 Meeting of the Advisory Committee for the 2015 World Radiocommunications Conference, and Attachment 2: Draft Proposals formulated and approved within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.