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AM Radios use in Broadband Deployment
Wireless industry innovator Lawrence Behr offers AM radio tower collocation to FCC effort to boost connectivity to broadband.
Behr was invited to speak as a recognized authority on
co-utilization of AM radio towers by wireless carriers. LBA Technology has developed collocation techniques http://www.lbagroup.com/
“This is shovel-ready technology,“
Behr acknowledged that some who work in the wireless industry are wary of connecting up with what they consider the throwback technology of AM radio. He said that technical leaders in the two starkly different generations of telecommunication “don’t understand each other’s technology. Not only are they 1,000 megahertz apart, they are a hundred years apart.”
Yet, he continued, the two technologies are compatible and synergistic at the point of convergence on an AM tower. Recognizing this, LBA Technology developed two proprietary collocation techniques to integrate wireless and AM hardware at reasonable cost.
The CoLoSiteSM system is practical for both single tower and multiple tower AM antenna systems. Using the system, wireless antenna and coaxial cable installations have virtually no effect on host AM towers and the AM signal has no effect on the wireless antenna.
On non-directional towers, an isolation system called CoLoPole http://www.lbagroup.com/
Directional stations use multiple towers to form an FCC-licensed radiation pattern crucial to protecting other stations from interference. LBA has developed CoLoCoil http://www.lbagroup.com/
A chief virtue of turning to collocation to spread broadband access is the ready availability of sites. “Many people don’t understand the broad swath of AM broadcast infrastructure in the United States, encompassing some 10,000 or more towers that are employed by some 5,000 individual broadcast stations,” the LBA executive told conferees. What’s more, he added, station owners can lease their towers and no prior notification of the FCC is needed. Instead, carriers install an antenna on a tower and inform the FCC of the arrangement.
A final—and no small—consideration in evaluating collocation is its ease of public approval. Because the collocation occurs on existing towers, public concern about erecting new structures is minimized. Consequently, Behr said, “zoning and permitting typically is much simpler.”
FCC chairman Julius Genachowsk convened the one-day conference and delivered the opening address. He challenged a recently formed FCC task force to find ways to ease regulatory barriers and cut by 20 percent the time needed to deploy a broadband system.
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About LBA: Behr has over 50 years of AM and wireless telecommunications experience. LBA Technology is a leading manufacturer and integrator of radio frequency systems, components and test equipment for broadcast, industrial and government users worldwide. Lawrence Behr Associates is the engineering consultancy of LBA Group, Inc.