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SBE Issues Regulatory Alert on Potential 6 GHz Interference

The spectrum band plays a critical role in ENG and local newsgathering

Following the FCC’s recent decision to authorize very low power (VLP) devices in the 6 GHz spectrum band, the Society of Broadcast Engineers has issued a regulatory alert to members and stations telling them to be aware of potential 6 GHz interference.

The 6 GHz spectrum band plays a critical role in ENG and local newsgathering, and the FCC’s efforts to open up parts of that spectrum to unlicensed devices has prompted considerable opposition from broadcasters and the NAB in recent years.

On March 8, FCC rules authorizing unlicensed very low power (VLP) devices in the 6 GHz spectrum band (5.925–7.125) GHz took effect.

“The SBE, the NAB, and others have expressed concern that the FCC’s proposals to increase unlicensed use of the 6 GHz Band could introduce harmful interference to broadcasters’ licensed electronic newsgathering (ENG) activities in the band,” the SBE said.

“Interference and reduced margin in fixed BAS links (STLs, etc.) may also be a problem as Wi-Fi-6E devices become common. Consequently, we urge you to fully document the performance of any 6 GHz fixed links that your station may have (signal levels, margin to failure, error rates, etc.). We are also interested in hearing from anyone who has experienced interference in the 6 GHz Band that could be attributable to unlicensed devices.”

The SBE noted that the issue is also important because “The FCC is also actively considering proposals to allow even greater VLP and LPI (low-power indoor) use in the Band” and urged anyone who has “experienced interference to your ENG operations in the 6 GHz band over the past several months, please notify the SBE at [email protected] no later than April 17.”

The SBE reminds members that “any interference should be reported via the FCC Interference Reporting portal.”

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