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Shure Counters Attempts To Curtail RF Carve-Outs

April 15th, 2015 Posted in News Roundup By Dan Daley

The run-up to the Incentive Auction of Television Broadcast Spectrum continues to spur Machiavellian intrigue and tactical skirmishes worthy of an entire season’s worth of Game of Thrones. The auction, scheduled for mid 2016, is expected to see much of the 600 MHz spectrum now used by wireless microphones critical to broadcast sports and ENG auctioned off. However, the FCC had earlier this year approved a 600 MHz “band plan” that allocated 11-MHz-wide guard bands, including a uniform duplex gap (a special guard band used to separate uplink and downlink spectrum), to prevent harmful interference between licensed services.

However, CITA, the trade association representing wireless-service providers, such as Verizon and AT&T, last week filed a technical report asserting that those licensed wireless microphones would cause interference with mobile handsets within 5 MHz of those guard bands.

According to Mark Brunner, director, PR, Shure, the company filed its own ex parte technical report countering CITA’s assertions on Monday April 13.

“We believe the [FCC’s] original band plan did a proper analysis and provided for a proper plan under which all the services specified could co-exist,” says Brunner. “The [CITA] study was flawed on several of its parameters, and we pointed those out in our technical report, along with additional analysis from our own research.”

The importance of RF spectrum in the UHF band, where the 600 MHz range resides, is underscored by the intensity of the lobbying around what is barely a tenth of the spectrum going to auction next year. Earlier this year, the AWS-3 paired-spectrum auction conducted by the FCC drew $44.9 billion for the 65 MHz of that frequency range, nearly three times the initial estimates of what that spectrum would fetch.

Says Brunner, “We have to counter any threats to the commission’s original band plan with accurate, real-world data on how wireless microphones work, in terms of things like power consumption, and their importance to broadcasters.”