In order to make more spectrum available for cellular and Internet services, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will soon take some spectrum that is being used for television and reallocate it to cellular companies. This means some TV broadcasters will be shut down. When that happens, is it more important to protect the large TV broadcasters, or the small ones? A typical high-power TV station can reach TV viewers up to 100 km away, blanketing a region of over 30K square km with the same content. Low-power stations cover much smaller areas, such as a neighborhood. A low-power station can tailor its content more specifically to the needs and interests of viewers, perhaps covering local politics and news, local sports, community events, and advertising for local businesses. From a technical perspective, with low-power TV, a single tower serves fewer people, so tower cost per person is higher, but energy consumption is much lower. The effects of high-power vs. low-power on spectrum efficiency are not well-understand, but are very important because spectrum is limited and increasingly valuable. This project will examine the costs and efficiencies of low-power versus high-power television in order to help decision-makers at the FCC and the broadcast industry make informed decisions about the allocation and use of TV spectrum.
Background related to wireless signals (e.g. 18-396) is helpful but not required.