[Noisebridge-discuss] Advocates Press FCC on Lower-Watt LPFMs
john_re at fastmail.us
Mon Sep 30 07:46:35 UTC 2013
Advocates Press FCC on Lower-Watt LPFMs by Leslie Stimson
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A low -power FM citizen’s advocacy group that wants the FCC to license
lower -watt stations has not given up. They’ve also asked the DOJ for
Let The Cities In petitioned the commission earlier this year, asking
the agency to reconsider licensing LPFMs smaller than 100 watts. The
group believes licensing 1- to 10-watt stations, or at least below 50
watts, may be the only way to get more LPFMs licensed in some major
cities, including New York, Detroit and Pittsburgh.
LTCI’s attorney is Don Schellhardt and its technology advisor is
Nickolaus Leggett. The two low -power advocates say they were among the
first people to propose LPFM service to the FCC in 1997.
Readers may recall that when the agency finalized its LPFM rules last
fall, the FCC decided to drop the 10-watt idea at the same time. The FCC
said it didn’t believe stations smaller than 100 watts would be
economically viable and could possibly cause interference with both new
LPFM and full-power stations.
LTCI’s petition challenges those points, claiming that most LPFM
advocacy groups have supported LP10s “at least in some areas,” and that
the commission has already licensed 10-watt translator stations in urban
areas, apparently without causing problems.
The group asked the FCC to reconsider its LP100-only decision in favor
of eliminating the LP10s, which LTCI claims has “huge exclusionary
results.” LTCI asserts that excluding “numerous urban citizens” from
LPFM coverage will violate the equal protection clause of the U.S.
Constitution. “Basically, this is a Constitutional mandate that
governmental bodies may not ‘arbitrarily,’ that is, without good reason,
treat groups and/or individuals in a way which materially favors some
over others,” Schellhardt explained to RW.
If the commission does not reconsider, they want the DOJ to intervene
and seek a court order to require the changes on constitutional grounds.
The group seeks a second filing window for LP10s, “at least in targeted
areas,” following completion of the LP100 filing window slated to open
Oct. 15. “There are now only six weeks to go before the October filing
window begins, but potential LP10 applicants still cannot prepare
because they still don’t know whether LP10s will be authorized or not,”
according to LTCI.
The group has also asked the DOJ to oppose the FCC’s practice of
allowing translators to be licensed at power levels lower than LPFM
power levels, stating that this gives translators “monopoly access to
all of the precious urban frequencies below 50 watts.” There’s been no
response from either regulator so far, according to LTCI.
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