Unusual Clash between Broadband Advocates and Weather Forecasters

Monday, October 25, 2010
As part of its push for the National Broadband Plan, the Obama administration wants to redirect certain portions of the broadcast spectrum for use by cellular companies so they can keep up with demand for advanced wireless Internet service. But the proposal is being opposed by organizations from the world of weather satellites, because the redirected spectrum is currently used to transmit data from earth’s orbit.
Opposition is coming from the World Meteorological Organization, weather agencies in Canada and Vietnam, state and local agencies, and U.S. commercial weather service providers, such as AccuWeather Inc. and The Weather Channel, as well as Raytheon, which works on weather satellites.
The Department of Commerce, through its National Telecommunications and Information Administration, wants 15 megahertz of spectrum in the 1675-1710 MHz band shifted away from weather satellite systems worldwide.
Opponents say the move could threaten the operation of global weather satellites, including four geostationary operational environmental satellites and four polar-orbiting satellites operated by the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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