Verizon accused of causing interference to ABC station in New York via its AWS spectrum

Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) is facing an informal complaint from ABC, which claims Verizon's AWS-1 network is interfering with its WABC-TV station in New York City. ABC said its newsgathering operations have been affected, and that Verizon has taken steps to mitigate the interference but it is not doing nearly enough.

In a filing with the FCC, ABC told the agency that Verizon had caused substantial interference to WABC-TV and "has done little to mitigate it." The broadcaster is asking the FCC's Enforcement Bureau to find Verizon in violation of FCC rules and wants Verizon to add new filters to its AWS sites or to be forced to stop deploying AWS sites in the area.

Verizon's AWS-1 spectrum in the area includes the 2110-2130 MHz band, which sits adjacent to ABC's Electronic Newsgathering (ENG) spectrum at 2025-2110 MHz. ABC said its ENG operations have been affected since September 2013.

Verizon has been deploying AWS-1 spectrum across the country to enhance its network capacity and boost speeds on its LTE network. New York is one of Verizon's largest markets and requires substantial network resources and capacity.

ABC notes that Verizon continues to deploy LTE sites in the New York market using its AWS-1 spectrum, and is doing without notification or coordination with WABC-TV as required by the FCC.

"We are aware of the issue," Verizon spokesman Richard Young told Broadcasting & Cable. "We have been working cooperatively with WABC-TV and will continue to do so."

The issue of interference between wireless carriers and TV broadcasters is likely to grow in prominence in advance of next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz spectrum. As Broadcasting & Cable notes, the issue could flare up if the FCC repacks some TV stations in the portion of the spectrum used for wireless broadband, or if the FCC puts wireless carriers and TV stations on the same channel in adjacent markets.

"We are very concerned about this issue extending to TV stations who have been repacked in the auction," National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton told Broadcasting & Cable.

For more:
- see this ABC complaint (PDF)
- see this Broadcasting & Cable article

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