Two LA TV stations have announced a pilot project to test channel sharing technology to help free up spectrum space for more wireless use. KLCS and KJLA will test compression schemes to fit two station's signals into what is normally one station's 6 Mhz channel allocation. The test is backed by the wireless industry's main lobbying group CTIA, and is expected to help drum up interest in the FCC's so called "incentive auction" of television spectrum.
“Since spectrum is a finite and valuable resource, channel sharing is truly a win-win-win for consumers, broadcasters and wireless providers. This helps broadcasters ensure that over-the-air customers may continue to enjoy their programming while the wireless industry continues to invest and innovate so it can meet the insatiable demands of its consumers for everything from broadband access to the ‘Internet of Things,’” said Steve Largent, President and CEO, CTIA.
From the broadcaster's perspective Dennis Wharton of the NAB issued a statement on the channel sharing tests.
"We look forward to any new information arising from this pilot program. The industry already has a good deal of technical experience with channel sharing, as many stations multicast today, which is channel sharing under another banner. On a technical level, one of the main challenges to channel sharing concerns the ability of the sharers to offer new and innovative services as they are limiting their available spectrum."
The FCC is looking to receive as much as $25-30 billion dollars from the spectrum auction, some of which will be used for a new public safety wireless network. Large broadcast stations are not expected to participate in the auction process, but smaller financially challenged operations could benefit by selling some or all of their spectrum allocations.