Broadcasters were ready to push back on Microsoft’s announced Rural Airband Initiative, in which it plans to team with telecommunications companies to extend broadband to 2 million more people by 2022.
The computer company wants the FCC to set aside a broadcast channel in each market for unlicensed wireless, which it says it will need for the new rural broadband initiative, an issue close to the heart of FCC chairman Ajit Pai.
NAB issued some talking (actually talking back) points following Microsoft president Brad Smith’s blog post outlining the proposal.
Those included that there are not enough channels as it is to accommodate all the broadcast TV station moves in the repack; that so-called white spaces devices can already use vacant channels and ch. 37 and now the duplex gap between broadcast and wireless operators post-auction; that reserving the new channel would put unlicensed ahead of broadcasters, who are supposed to have primary status; and much more.
Microsoft had already telegraphed the rural broadband angle on its longstanding push for using so-called vacant channels for unlicensed. NAB referenced a story in B&C last week in firing back Tuesday after the announcement became official.