Originally Posted by FCC MO&O from Feb 98 - note references to footnotes removed
B. Selection of the DTV Core Spectrum
33. As noted in the Sixth Report and Order, one of our principal concerns in this proceeding is to provide broadcasters with the best possible spectrum for DTV service. In the Sixth Further Notice, we stated that a core region between channels 7-51 may be the most appropriate location for DTV broadcasting; that this spectrum would be sufficient to accommodate all existing broadcasters; and that it would provide additional DTV channels for new entrants after the conversion to digital service. We noted that the lower VHF channels 2-6 are subject to technical penalties, including higher ambient noise levels and concerns of possible interference to and from FM radio service. We did, however, recognize that these channels offer unique characteristics for broadcasting, particularly with regard to propagation. In the Sixth Report and Order, we recognized that a number of commenting parties strongly believed that DTV signals can perform well in the presence of noise and that the lower VHF channels 2-6, with their desirable propagation characteristics, should be made part of the DTV core spectrum. However, other parties agreed with our initial assessment that these channels may not be appropriate for TV use. We therefore concluded that the best approach was to develop the DTV Table based on use of channels 2-51, and modified our allotment software to attempt to locate all DTV channels within this portion of the spectrum. We stated that if channels 2-6 prove acceptable for DTV use, we will consider retaining these channels for DTV use and adjusting the core spectrum to encompass channels 2-46, rather than channels 7-51......
[note paragraphs 34~40 removed as "basically" it is discussion explaining the pros and cons + who wants 2-6 in and who doesn't and why or the core to be 2-46 or not, or who wants 2-51 or doesn't and why, blah blah blah, /etc/etc/etc ]
................ 41. Decision. We recognize that postponing a decision on the low-VHF channels has raised uncertainties for licensees whose existing and/or DTV channels are in that portion of the spectrum. We further understand that these uncertainties can make planning for DTV service more difficult and burdensome. We also concur that there is no engineering evidence available at this time to indicate that these channels are unsuitable for DTV operation and such channels offer desirable propagation characteristics for television service. We therefore recognize the benefits of including these channels in the core spectrum. We also note, however, that a DTV core spectrum of channels 2-46 would require significantly more second moves by broadcasters than a core of channels 7-51. In reconsidering this matter, we now believe that the most desirable course of action is to expand the core to include all channels 2-51.
42. This expansion of the core will eliminate the planning uncertainties for many broadcasters that have either DTV or NTSC channels in the channel 2-6 or 47-51 regions of the spectrum. Providing an additional five channels for DTV will reduce the number of out-of-core allotments, thereby further reducing the number of stations that will be required to make second channel moves. Expanding the core will also promote additional competition and diversity in the provision of DTV services by increasing the availability of channels for new stations and networks. Expansion of the core will also provide more flexibility to address new technical information on adjacent DTV channel performance and ensure that there is sufficient spectrum to eliminate DTV-to-DTV adjacent channel interference situations.
43. This change will also reduce the impact on low power operations. In this regard, channels 2-6 and 47-51 now support a significant number of low power and TV translators. The low VHF channels, for example, have some of the highest concentration of low power stations. Expanding the core to include channels 2-6 would eliminate the eventual displacement of most of these stations. In addition, expanding the core will also provide low power stations with more channels and opportunities for new stations and relocation of existing stations.
44. While we recognize that this change will reduce by 30 MHz the amount of contiguous spectrum to be recovered, we believe that the benefits of expanding the DTV core spectrum to include channels 2-51 outweigh the benefits of clearing either channels 2-6 or 47-51. Expanding the DTV core spectrum will permit recovery of 108 MHz of spectrum at the end of the transition period, which is more than one-fourth of the total spectrum used for broadcast television today. We note that this amount of spectrum is significantly more than our original plan to recover 72 MHz of spectrum. While expansion of the core spectrum may raise concerns about providing broadcasters with additional spectrum and reducing the amount of spectrum available to other service providers, these concerns are offset by the fact that this expansion will provide additional opportunities for new DTV stations and other new digital data services. Our analysis indicates that expanding the core will add approximately 175 additional channels, and that many of these new channels will be in top markets, including at least three new channels each in congested and highly-valuable New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Detroit. Last July, Congress expanded our auction authority to include assignment of broadcast licenses and therefore most of the new channels will be awarded through our auction procedures, as required under new Section 309(j)(14)(C) of the Communications Act. Additional benefits also exist, including less interference to existing broadcasters in major markets during the transition, continued operation of some 500 additional low power TV and TV translator stations that provide service to many suburban and rural areas and that otherwise might have been required to cease operation, and elimination of mandatory second moves into the core for about 120 broadcasters at the end of the transition. Based on these factors, we conclude that the public will benefit substantially from our expanding the core.