WASHINGTON, DC – Chief executives from the ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX television networks wrote FCC Chairman Kevin Martin today expressing concern over the reliability of 'white space' devices relying solely on spectrum-sensing technology as well as a reported FCC plan to set power limitations at 40 milliwatts.
The letter, signed by News Corporation President and COO Peter Chernin, Walt Disney President and CEO Robert Iger, CBS Corporation President and CEO Leslie Moonves, and NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker, also urged the FCC to follow standard practice and seek public comment and peer review of an engineering field report released last week.
"[G]iven the sustained and repeated failure of sensing devices and technology reported by OET, it is hard to understand how the report supports a 'proof of concept' for sensing, and even harder to see how that 'proof of concept' constitutes the kind of solid scientific foundation the Commission normally requires before proceeding to adopt a rule allowing a new service," the network chiefs said.
"Second, there is no data in the OET report that gives comfort that a 40 milliwatt device operating on the first adjacent channel in a market would not cause widespread interference disrupting television viewing for unacceptable numbers of viewers in such a market," the letter read. "The 40 milliwatt provision sounds like a political compromise rather than one driven by rigorous science and the laws of physics."
"[T]he FCC has to get this matter right the first time," the executives said. "If millions of unlicensed devices flood the market in the next few years, and it turns out that sensing still does not work, or that 40 milliwatts is far too high... how will that damage be undone?"
Noting that interference could also impact cable viewers, the letter expressed broadcasters' commitment to working toward a white space solution that does not "unduly jeopardize television viewing."
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 www.nab.org.