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October 22, 2008
Dennis Wharton
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Broadcasters Alert FCC to White Space Proponents' End Game

--Group cites recent statements from white space backers to 'take TV off the air'--

WASHINGTON, DC – The Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX television networks filed comments with the FCC today alerting the agency to recent statements made by 'white space' proponents, including the New America Foundation, a Google-backed organization in Washington. The filing supplements an emergency request submitted by broadcasters last week, which urges the Commission to follow standard practice and seek public comment on a recent engineering report.

"The end-game for these groups is, over the next few years, to increase the power of personal, portable devices to dangerously high levels, with complete disregard for the effects on the public's television broadcasting service (as well as on licensed wireless microphone operations and cable)," the filing said.

"Whether a white spaces proponent is motivated by the goal of destroying television or is just indifferent to the consequences that flow from embracing sensing technologies that have failed and from an adjacent-channel power limit (40mW) that would destroy service, the result is the same," the filing continued.

In comments made yesterday at a conference held by the New America Foundation and Google, Michael Calabrese, director of NAF's wireless future program, told attendees that free over-the-air broadcasting should be replaced entirely by subscription-based video services. With respect to future 'white space' power limits set by the FCC, The New America Foundation, whose board chairman is Google CEO Eric Schmidt, is "going to push that up over time," Calabrese said, according to an article in today's issue of Communications Daily.

Communications Daily also reported that Mark McHenry, CEO of Shared Spectrum Company, told conference attendees, "The FCC is going to start conservatively, but we're going to wear them down. In a few years, we're going to be at 10 W all over the place."

Commenting on Calabrese's and McHenry's statements, NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said, "After yesterday's comments, it is now crystal-clear that the 'new America' Mr. Calabrese is working toward is one where free television is thrown by the wayside to make room for subscription-based services marketed and sold by his organization's financial backers."

"And with the consistent failure of spectrum-sensing devices, Mr. McHenry's plan to 'wear down' the FCC and increase power-levels exponentially is deeply disturbing," Wharton continued.

Separately, wireless microphone manufacturer Shure Incorporated filed comments yesterday with the FCC supporting an emergency petition filed last week by NAB, MSTV and the broadcast networks urging the Commission to follow standard practice and seek comment on a recent engineering report regarding 'white space' devices. Broadcast affiliate associations have also endorsed the request for a comment period.

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. Information about NAB can be found at


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