Harry Jessell over at TVNEWSDAY has this story about a possible interference problem between operation of 3.65 GHz band equipment and the neighboring C-Band satellite receiver operated by CBS-owned KYW in Philadelphia.
According to the article, KYW experienced interference on its C-Band downlink near the 3.70 GHz frequency in February 2008, and resolved the problem by shifting to a higher frequency. The interference stopped a short time later, then flared up again in September, prompting KYW to call the FCC. That seems to have taken care of the problem, indicating it was a byproduct of some human operation addressed by the FCC enforcement — although possibly not. According to the article, the FCC won’t talk about it — which is standard procedure in an enforcement complaint.
According to the article, KYW Chief Engineer Rich Paleski thinks the problem was a “WiMax operator” using the 3.65 GHz. Paleski worries that 3.65 GHz will not be compatible with C-Band satellite downlink operation and warns “that should concern every station that imports programming via C-band satellite, which is to say just about every station in the United States.” He wants all television broadcast engineers to be alert for interference in the lower part of the C-Band near 3.70 GHz.
Given the rule limitations on use of the 3.65 GHz band, I am extremely skeptical of Paleski’s conclusion. Why? Because given the rules for operation in the band, no one should have been operating on the band in Philadelphia. And even they were operating illegally, they would have needed to hack the equipment to get within 25 MHz of 3.70 GHz, or have anything like the power needed to cause the kind of interference Paleski reports.
Given the growing popularity of the 3.65 GHz band for WiMax (as evidenced by projects like these), I think it’s important to look at this very carefully and not go leaping to conclusions. The 3.65 GHz band holds out a lot of hope for rural broadband by wireless ISPs (WISPS) running small businesses and priced out of licensed spectrum. Before anyone starts speculating from this single incident that use of 3.65 GHz poses a danger lets take a careful look at some of the facts around the use of 3.65 GHz and why I don’t think this is an industry-wide issue. It’s always easy to blame the new neighbor — especially when you think “their kind” is trouble. But how likely is it really?
More below . . .