Reply Comments on Opening Broadcast Spectrum for Unlicensed Sharing

Policy Paper
May 16, 2003

New America Foundation, et al. (NAF, et al.) argued in their Comment that new information technologies are making it economical to allocate large amounts of previously unused spectrum for unlicensed devices without creating harmful interference to incumbent license holders. Incumbent license holders in their comments, however, argue that this technological revolution has not taken place; therefore, the status quo must be preserved in order to prevent harmful interference.

In this Reply Comment, NAF, et al. focus on the Reply Comment of National Association of Broadcasters, et al. (NAB, et al.), the trade associations representing the incumbent high power broadcast TV licensees. The central arguments of the other incumbent license holders tended to be very similar. NAB, et al. attempt a cost-benefit analysis concerning the FCC’s proposal to allow an unlicensed allocation within the 402 MHz of the broadcast band. They conclude that the costs outweigh the benefits and that therefore the FCC should reject the proposed unlicensed allocation.

NAF, et al. disagree with this cost-benefit analysis, including any assumption that there is necessarily a tradeoff between existing licensed broadcast service and new unlicensed services. NAF, et al. also disagree with Cingular’s Comment that the proposed unlicensed allocation violates statute. And it finds abhorrent the FCC’s tacit sanction of the November 26, 1996 deal between the computer and broadcast industries preventing vigorous and public discussion of the issues under consideration in this Notice of Inquiry.


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