On again, off again, back on again. That’s story with the comment deadlines for the FCC’s proposal to preserve vacant UHF TV channel space in every geographic area of the country for use by unlicensed TV white space devices and wireless microphones. When that proceeding was kicked off, comments were due pronto. But then the deadlines were suspended because, in the view of some observers, various still-up-in-the-air aspects of the Incentive Auction make it difficult if not impossible to comment on the white space/wireless mic proposals. In recent days the Commission has issued a number of decisions setting the stage for the auction.
Of particular interest here, the Commission has decided to assign television stations within the 600 MHz Band (i.e., without restriction within that band, including the duplex gap) where necessary to help fulfill the auction’s clearing target objectives. That, of course, could put the squeeze on spectrum originally thought to be reserved for white space devices and wireless mics. So the Commission has tentatively concluded that it will designate a second TV channel for white space devices/wireless mic operation in areas “where the duplex gap is subject to impairment”. (You can find this proposal in Paragraph 32 of the “Auctions Procedures Public Notice”.)
In reaching that tentative conclusion, the Commission instructed the Media Bureau to set common deadlines for comments on that conclusion as well as that earlier proposal to preserve channel space for white space devices and wireless mics. The Bureau has complied. The new deadlines: September 30, 2015 for comments; October 30 for replies. Both comments and replies may be filed through the FCC’s ECFS online filing system; refer to Proceeding Nos. 15-146 and 12-268.