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Comments Sought on Digital TV Signal Coverage/Interference Software

FCC Plans to use the software in connection with the broadcast TV spectrum auction

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is seeking comment on how well software it has made available that analyzes the coverage—and checks for interference—of digital and Class A television station signals is working.

On Feb. 15, 2013 the FCC issued a Federal Register notice—Office of Engineering and Technology Seeks Comment on Updated OET-69 Software—that identifies the new software as “TVStudy,” and says that “it provides analysis of coverage and interference of full-service digital and Class A television stations” and “the Commission plans to use this new software in connection with the proposed broadcast television spectrum incentive auction (incentive auction).”

Therefore the “OET seeks comment on the software generally, as well as the identification of any errors, unexpected behaviors, or anomalous results produced in running the software.”

The software was developed to support the DTV transition, and it has subsequently been used to analyze applications to modify the DTV Table of Channel Allotments, the FCC says. “As such, the software programs developed by the FCC for those purposes are based fundamentally on source code and data from the 1990s and earlier. Since that time, some of the underlying datasets have evolved or have been replaced.

Because users had enough experience to offer informal feedback on existing programs’ strengths and weaknesses, the commission said it was able to develop its TVStudy software. “The new software operates on modern computer systems, and it runs much faster, provides greater accuracy in modeling and analysis and is easier to use and more versatile than the existing software,” according to the notice.

In addition, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn issued a statement on the software that says, “An important component of the proposed incentive auction is the repacking of broadcast TV stations, including the potential reassignment of stations to new operating channels. As the TV Study Public Notice points out, the software that the Commission staff currently uses to implement OET-69 is based on source code and data from the 1990s and earlier. It is critical that the repacking process incorporates the most updated and accurate data possible.”

The deadline for comments is March 21, 2013 and the deadline for reply comments is April 5, 2013.
Click here to read the Federal Register notice.