The Society of Broadcast Engineers has some ideas about how the Federal Communications Commission can better support broadcast use of Broadcast Auxiliary Service spectrum.
It made two filings to the FCC. The first is a petition for rulemaking seeking changes to remote pickup rules to allow both digital and analog modulation on RPU channels.
The SBE also hopes to correct 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, SBE wrote, “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 in the announcement that the petition solves “a significant regulatory and equipment problem but does no harm to existing station RPU operations.” The proposal would simply make digital-modulation, narrow-band operation permissible, he said.
SBE also asked for immediate rule waiver to allow use of digital radios and communications equipment, resolving what SBE calls “a serious disconnect between the broadcaster’s need to maintain and update their RPU fleets and the availability of suitable replacement equipment.”
SBE General Counsel Chris Imlay said a waiver while the rulemaking process is underway “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.”
In October, the group Engineers for the Integrity of Broadcast Auxiliary Services Spectrum petitioned the FCC to address Part 74 RPU issues.