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NAB opposes Mircrosoft’s move to grab ‘white’ spectrum

The adoption of ATSC 3.0 in the US, akin to digital TV, may require new receivers, hardware or even parallel networks for a smooth transformation to next-gen TV.

Thus, while the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has come to an agreement with Microsoft on four of the five proposals in Microsoft’s plan to expand its Airband service, NAB has told the US FCC that it strongly opposes Microsoft’s fifth proposal to use the first-adjacent channel that is normally allocated to broadcasters licensed service for Microsoft’s plan to deliver broadband to rural areas.

NAB president, Gordon Smith, said in an interview with C-SPAN: “What the computer company really wants is the spectrum in urban areas so they can monetise it … NAB just wants them to call it what it is — and focus on the science of spectrum and figure out, with broadcasters, how they can be accommodated without interfering with TV stations.”

In the past, the FCC has always retained the adjacent channels as a buffer between stations and unlicensed users. However, the freeing up of unused broadcast frequencies for buffering purposes and the common space can also be used to deliver broadband Internet.

NAB maintains that as broadcasters transition to new-gen transmission standard, it is essential that broadcasters hold adjacent or extra channels to accommodate current and new signals.

Ajit Pai, the chairperson of FCC, is seeking agreement among broadcasters before deciding on freeing up the adjacent white spaces for broadband operations.

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