The trade group tells the FCC that “CTIA’s gold-rush mentality to stockpile spectrum has left its proposal and corresponding analysis lacking any perspective on the value of the current use of the 2095-2110 MHz band to the American public.”
NAB Counters CTIA’s BAS Spectrum Plan
In comments to the FCC on the commission’s proposed rules allocating spectrum for wireless broadband usage, the NAB objects to a proposal by CTIA to reallocate spectrum used by broadcasters for newsgathering services to wireless companies.
“The 15 MHz allotment that CTIA proposes for reallocation sits at the top of the BAS band,” the NAB said. “Broadcasters actively use this spectrum for electronic newsgathering (ENG) services, transmitting live, on location news reports to local studios. BAS is also used to transmit point-of-view camera shots that enhance coverage of breaking news and special events, such as video from a helicopter or blimp.
“In addition, studio-to-transmitter and inter-city fixed links in the 2 GHz BAS band enable stations in rural areas to relay programming from the station’s main studio to the transmitter facility or to deliver signals to remote communities. This spectrum is also used for Cable Antenna Relay Services (CARS), Local Television Transmission Services (LTTS) and for the transmission of satellite telemetry data.
“In the last few years, broadcasters completed a mandated transition that reduced their BAS allocation from 120 MHz to the current 85 MHz allocation. That transition, initiated by the Sprint-Nextel move into the lower BAS band, cost more than $750 million and took more than five years to complete. Broadcasters now operate on seven 12 MHz channels.
“Because of its recent reduction, the BAS band is now extremely crowded. According to the FCC’s Spectrum Dashboard, more than 10,000 licenses operate in the band, and careful coordination is required among the many licensees to ensure they can each use the spectrum without interference. This is especially true during emergencies and other breaking news events.
“The recent tragedy during the Boston Marathon and subsequent manhunt is a prime example. Local and national news crews used the entirety of the BAS spectrum to transmit live, up-to-the-minute updates from the scene, while helicopters overhead provided live video seen by millions of viewers. That video was used not just in local newscasts, but also on national broadcast news programs and cable news channels. In fact, the band became so congested that broadcasters were forced to use the much less reliable and less efficient wireless networks for additional news traffic no longer able to be served in the BAS band.
In its myopically focused14-page white paper, CTIA never addresses what would happen to the vibrant BAS operations currently in the 2095-2110 band, or acknowledges their value (or even their existence). Rather, CTIA’s gold-rush mentality to stockpile spectrum has left its proposal and corresponding analysis lacking any perspective on the value of the current use of the 2095-2110 MHz band to the American public.”
NAB also claims that CTIA “continues to claim there is a spectrum shortage despite secondary market transactions that have allowed the industry to become more spectrally efficient.”