SBE Files on BAS Spectrum Usage

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Indianapolis - Nov 7, 2011- The Society of Broadcast Engineers has submitted two filings to the FCC in support of broadcast use of Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) spectrum. The first is a petition for rulemaking seeking modification of the remote pickup rules to allow digital and analog modulation on RPU channels. It also corrects an anomaly created by the Commission in 2002 by realigning the center frequency specification to allow for more efficient use of the spectrum while preserving the ability to stack channels for wider bandwidths. A change of these rules would conform BAS regulations more closely to other recent FCC rule updates and will significantly expand equipment choices available to broadcast engineers to include devices currently restricted to non-broadcast use. The change would also facilitate digital conversion of the bands at a pace determined by the industry rather than by the FCC.

Joe Snelson, chair of the SBE Frequency Coordination Committee said, "The best quality about this petition is that it solves a significant regulatory and equipment problem but does no harm to existing station RPU operations. The proposed rules would not mandate any change but would simply make digital-modulation, narrow-band operation permissible."

The second filing is a request for an immediate FCC rule waiver to allow use of current-technology digital radios and communications equipment, resolving a serious disconnect between the broadcaster's need to maintain and update their RPU fleets and the availability of suitable replacement equipment. Chris Imlay, SBE general counsel said, "A temporary waiver of these rules while the rulemaking process is progressing is vital to making our members' jobs easier right now by allowing engineers to use widely-available, Part-90-type digital equipment on RPU frequencies while remaining compliant with FCC rules."

The SBE's Legislative Goals include support and defense of broadcaster access to BAS frequencies as an extension of its frequency coordination programs and its support of broadcast engineering. The filings are posted on the SBE website.

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