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SBE Gets Its FCC Invite

Will now be part of spectrum forum

Apparently thinking better of leaving out the only national membership organization of broadcast engineers, the FCC has now invited the Society of Broadcast Engineers to take part in its engineering forum this Friday covering television spectrum issues for mobile broadband.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss technical aspects of the FCC’s plan to reclaim and reallocate 120 MHz of free broadcast television spectrum for broadband services allocated by auction. The SBE says the upshot likely will be the exchange of over-the-air television reception, which is free to the public, for subscription-based services similar to those offered by cellular and telecom providers.

The invitation comes after the SBE last week sent a strongly-worded letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, questioning how the agency could hold such a forum and not invite the broadcast engineering society to take part.

The SBE said two of its officers will represent the engineering group: its national vice president and SBE’s representative to ATSC, Ralph Hogan, who is, associate general manager of Rio Salado College Division of Public Service in Tempe, Ariz.; and Joseph Snelson, member of the SBE national board and vice president and director of engineering, Meredith Broadcast Group, Las Vegas.

“We look forward to Friday’s event and our opportunity to have input and review of the process first-hand,” stated SBE President Vinny Lopez in an e-mail to members that was shared with Radio World. The meeting begins in the morning, the public portion at 3 p.m. Lopez encouraged members to watch the public portion of the event 3 to 6 p.m. online.

The SBE had also urged the commission to make all of the meeting public; the format has not changed.

Engineers from telecom carriers, Harris Broadcast as well as several consulting engineering groups, television broadcasters, NAB and CEA are participating.