FCC Takes on RPU/BAS Improvements

The Federal Communications Commission has laid out a plan to improve its Part 74 rules covering RPU stations
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WASHINGTON�The Federal Communications Commission has laid out a plan to improve its Part 74 rules covering RPU stations.

It issued a notice of proposed rulemaking and order, asking for comment; the commission said its goal is �to eliminate outdated rules in an effort to promote the use of modern technologies for Part 74 Remote Pickup stations, clarify the application of current rules and deny a related waiver request� from the SBE.

The background: Radio and TV organizations use RPUs � a type of broadcast auxiliary station � to transmit content from sites of news stories or other live events to studios; to transmit programming material from studios to broadcasting transmitters; and to transmit programs between broadcast stations, as the commission outlined in its document. �RPUs can be used to transmit material from the scene of an event back to the broadcast studio or production center, communicate concerning the production or technical support of a remote program, and support activities associated with the Emergency Alert System.�

RPU stations may be authorized to operate within the 25.67-26.48 MHz band (HF RPU Band), the 152.855-154 MHz, 157.45-161.575 MHz, 161.625-161.775 MHz bands (collectively, VHF RPU Band) and the 450-451 MHz and 455-456 MHz bands (collectively, UHF RPU Band).

The FCC said its proposals would eliminate outdated barriers to the use of modern, digital transmission technologiesand allow broadcasters to use the frequencies in question more efficiently.� �In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking we also explain why we believe no rule change is needed to provide applicants for RPU channels greater flexibility in interpreting center frequency assignments.� In addition, we deny as premature a request from the Society of Broadcast Engineers, on behalf of Part 74 licensees, to allow Part 74 licensees to use digital emissions in the VHF and UHF bands while this rulemaking is pending.�

Among entities with an interest in this issue are the group Engineers for the Integrity of Broadcast Auxiliary Services Spectrum and Society for Broadcast Engineers. EIBASS and SBE both asked the commission to fix the so-called RPU �center frequency problem� but each proposed a different solution. SBE also raised a related issue; it believes there is no current need for new RPU stations with a 100 kilohertz bandwidth.

We�ll have more in a subsequent summary of this action, but readers interested in the details can read the entire FCC�order and proposal here.

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