The association tells the FCC that “Microsoft is asking the commission to grant it spectrum for free, with no buildout requirements or service requirements of any kind — substantially better terms than winning auction bidders received.”
NAB has told the FCC that a Microsoft proposal that it be guaranteed access to 18 MHz of TV spectrum for unlicensed operation should be denied because it will cause “direct and immediate harm to translators and low power television stations” displaced by the spectrum repack following the incentive auction.
In ex parte comments, the association said: “NAB does not object to unlicensed operations in the TV band as long as those operations do not cause harmful interference to licensed television services, deprive viewers of television service they receive today or stifle innovation in the broadcast band.
“Now Microsoft is engaged in a regulatory bait and switch, asserting that the promises it made about the potential for white spaces can only be realized if the FCC gives Microsoft something new: a guarantee of at least three vacant channels for white spaces operation nationwide. Instead of opportunistic use of spectrum that might vary in availability over time, Microsoft is seeking guaranteed access to 18 MHz of spectrum nationwide. Microsoft’s proposal will cause direct and immediate harm to translators and low power television stations displaced by the broadcast television spectrum incentive auction.
“These stations will need to find new channels in a smaller, more congested television band,” the NAB added. “Microsoft proposes to remove one available channel that could otherwise be used to keep such stations on the air. Microsoft attempts to dispute this harm by asserting that there will be plenty of spectrum for everyone — but that argument only demonstrates that the proposal is unnecessary. If there is plenty of spectrum for everyone, there is no need to reserve it for Microsoft.
“Literally the only reason to reserve spectrum for unlicensed use is precisely because Microsoft is concerned there will not be enough vacant spectrum following the television repack.”
NAB concluded: “If Microsoft so urgently needs guaranteed access to low-band spectrum for its business plans, it should have participated in the incentive auction and won the right to licensed spectrum that would provide the certainty Microsoft claims it needs.”