The MAB reached out to Gov. Rick Snyder and members of the Michigan Congressional Delegation urging the lawmakers to reject Microsoft’s attempts to secure free TV spectrum for a nationwide channel (aka ‘white space’) to use for unlicensed devices. Microsoft is asserting that it is urgent that the FCC reserve a vacant UHF white space channel in every market nationwide before the repacking is finalized.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) also filed comments with the FCC stating that the Microsoft proposal to grant access to 18 MHz of TV spectrum for unlicensed use, should be denied as it will cause direct and immediate harm to translators and low power television stations displaced by the spectrum repack following the incentive auction.
In even a best-case repacking scenario, the capacity simply does not exist to successfully accommodate all of these broadcast television station moves. By design, the incentive auction is already shrinking the broadcast television band and there will not be enough spectrum to keep all broadcast television translators and LPTV stations on the air. This disproportionately harms diverse, niche and rural broadcast viewers that are served by translators and LPTVs.
Broadcasters are not alone in opposing this move. A number of rural and agricultural organizations, including National Assoc. of Wheat Growers, National Assoc. of State Departments of Agriculture, National Black Growers Council, National Farmers Union, and Rural & Agriculture Council of America wrote a letter to the FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai in opposition to the Microsoft proposal. “Our members rely heavily on local broadcast stations to stay up to date on the important issues in our communities and the rest of the country,” the letter stated. “When local broadcast stations go dark, rural communities are deprived of a vital source of information that is essential for managing our day-to-day lives.”