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December 22, 2009

Broadcasters Respond to FCC's Spectrum Inquiry

-- Study: CTIA spectrum forecast 'flawed', or, at best, 'highly speculative' --

WASHINGTON -- The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV) filed joint comments today with the Federal Communications Commission concerning the agency's National Broadband Plan inquiry.

As part of the filing, NAB and MSTV also submitted, "A Proposed Framework for Discussion," which included a new study that shows nearly 750 MHz of spectrum is currently available for licensed broadband use. That figure is more than double the amount of spectrum allocated exclusively for TV broadcasters, which totals 294 MHz. The study, conducted by a pair of Purdue University engineering professors, also questions the validity of a recent spectrum forecast by CTIA-The Wireless Association, calling its results "flawed or, at best, highly suspect."

The joint filing and additional 'Framework' document are available online in PDF format.

From the outset, NAB and MSTV urged the Commission to "conduct a comprehensive inventory of present and future spectrum usage by all parties," including the wireless industry, satellite, broadcasters and the government. "To the extent that more spectrum is needed for broadband uses -- a proposition that should be fully tested -- the Commission should not assume that broadcast spectrum is the best or even a viable place to find that spectrum," NAB and MSTV wrote.

Broadcasters also outlined four overarching principles relevant to the FCC's Public Notice on the National Broadband Plan.

  • Broadcasting and broadband are not "either/or" propositions; that is a false choice.
  • Local TV broadcasters offer an array of social benefits that are irreplaceable by other services.
  • The FCC's spectrum policy must be guided Section 1 of the Communications Act and by Congress's directive to provide local service.
  • Throughout the DTV transition, the Administration, Congress and the FCC told American consumers that they would benefit from the digital transition with free, over-the-air HDTV and additional free multicast channels.

NAB and MSTV also reminded the Commission of the promising future for mobile DTV. "Broadcasters are poised to meet consumer demand for mobile video -- one of the key services behind the wireless industry's claims to need more spectrum. Such service can be offered more effectively, efficiently and expeditiously by broadcasting's point-to-multipoint distribution architecture and technology," the groups wrote.

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at


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