NTA Opposes Microsoft White Space Proposal

There’s more opposition to the Microsoft TV White Space proposal. The National Translators Association has told the FCC, the agency should at least wait to consider the concept until after the television channel repack is completed.

Microsoft proposes to expand broadband access to rural communities using a combination of TV white spaces (the unlicensed frequencies between television channels) fixed wireless and satellite. The company says its proposal can cut the initial capital and operating costs by roughly 80 percent, compared to the cost of using fiber cables alone and by approximately 50 percent, compared to the cost of current fixed wireless technology. It’s calling for the FCC to reserve one UHF channel in each market for this purpose.  

NTA is receiving calls from anguished TV translator operators and state-wide service providers to find channels that they need for the repack, according to President John Terrill. He tells the FCC in a filing: “Microsoft describes the spaces between full power TV stations as so-called ‘vacant channels.’ NTA does not know anyone else who calls these channels ‘vacant.’ Currently they are occupied by 3,776 licensed UHF and VHF translator stations, and 1,968 licensed UHF and VHF Low Power TV Stations.”

NTA members are local governments, TV districts and non-profits relaying free large market television programming to rural areas beyond major network coverage areas. NAB opposes the concept too, Inside Towers reported, saying there won’t be enough spectrum to accommodate all of television’s needs because of the repack. Microsoft could have taken part in the spectrum auction, says both NAB and NTA.

September 6, 2017

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