High-Frequency Trading Service: FCC posts two lobbying documents by DPA Mac

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Benn Kobb (AK4AV), who notes that the FCC has posted for public inspection two lobbying documents by DPA Mac, applicant for a new DRM HF broadcast station with 2 kW of transmitter output power.

Benn notes:

“Regardless of DPA’s claims that its broadcasts will be free of charge and not encrypted, its non-broadcast high-frequency trading service will be for paying customers only.

“That is the purpose of this station and is why its target areas, as seen in a world map slide, are limited to the location of certain foreign exchanges. This despite its claim to be a worldwide service.

“There is little profit in SW broadcasting today, and what business there is available is accommodated by those existing US HF stations that can hang on through economic shifts. No, the DPA Mac station is not devoted to global information as a business venture. It wants a license to provide private telecommunications. The broadcasts to the public are just so it can get licensed, because there is no other radio service in the HF spectrum for private international data links.

“At this time no one knows what the FCC will do with this license application and two other similar applications. What is clear is that the applicants want to get on the air ASAP before any possible changes that may affect the HF broadcasting service.”

The FCC posted the following documents in an accessible place on their website yesterday morning:



Thank you for the update, Benn.

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10 thoughts on “High-Frequency Trading Service: FCC posts two lobbying documents by DPA Mac

  1. mangosman

    The US Government has .S. Agency for Global Media. has the “Voice of America” which has trialled DRM broadcasting to Cuba, but they only tested sound broadcasting.

    There are also Religious broadcasters within the USA who broadcast to overseas audiences, which if the data doesn’t clash with their morals, would like the extra income and that the sound quality is better than “AM” from a local broadcaster. This is possible with DRM.

    Current high frequency broadcasts licenced by the FCC are found here https://www.fcc.gov/general/high-frequency-stations-seasonal-operating-frequency-schedules

    1. QRN Magazine

      > if the data doesn’t clash with their morals, would like the extra income

      Who says it has to be extra income? Why can’t it be their sole income?

      Who decides what percentage of their output ‘has’ to be broadcasting and what percentage is private point-to-point linking? Can it be 100% point-to-point? At what ‘point’ is it not a broadcaster at all and thus not subject to any broadcasting rules, including station ID?

      How do you decide who gets licenses for international data service and who is denied a license? The FCC auctions licenses for commercial stations now. How will auctions for HF licenses work?

      You can see why the FCC said this “presents potentially broadly applicable policy issues.”

  2. mangosman

    These data transmissions will need to use Digital Radio Mondiale because it is designed to carry data and it is standardised by the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union. DRM has a controlled access mode of transmission making the signal invisible to receivers who do not know the key. These transmissions can be encrypted prior to supplying them to the DRM Content Server which assembles up to 4 data streams prior to being sent to the DRM Modulator. The financial controlled access transmission may also be encrypted. The Starwaves consumer receiver contains a WiFi tranceiver so that the graphics and pages of indexed text.on a tablet or computer.
    As for useage of the HF band I suggest you read https://transition.fcc.gov/oet/spectrum/table/fcctable.pdf to see if non- broadcast portions of the band may be available. After all the band was used for the distribution of fax images in analog for newspaper organisations.

    An other option is that in the HF band the available data rates are from 6.1 – 27.4 kbit/s. This total can be split in any proportions. Remember that xHE-AAC sound data compression can give good sound at 12 kbit/s, part of which can be sound and the rest be encrypted sales data. If there is an Emergency Warning, then the financial data rate may need to be slowed during those transmissions.
    So an HF broadcaster could provide sound programs and charge for the transmission of data.

    1. QRN Magazine

      > So an HF broadcaster could provide sound programs and charge for the transmission of data

      Not a US HF broadcaster. 100% of the output of an International Broadcast Station must be broadcasting, which is defined as transmissions intended for reception by the general public. There are no exceptions, unless the FCC waives the rules to permit some stations to conduct nonbroadcast operations, or changes the rules in a public proceeding, or issues a Declaratory Ruling establishing that “datacasting” is not broadcasting, or establishes a new International High-Frequency Data Service to accommodate private links. At the time of this writing none of the above have occurred.

    2. Ron F

      > “These data transmissions will need to use Digital Radio Mondiale because it is designed to carry data”

      * Several reports from previous test transmissions have suggested that they’re not using DRM for data – controlled access or not – but separate signals outside the 10KHz DRM bandwidth.

      * Some simple calculations suggests that the delay due to DRM encoding/muxing & decoding/demuxing would be longer than just using a trans-Atlantic IP link.

      So it would seem highly unlikely they’re using DRM because of it’s data-transmission capability – the choice of DRM is just a smokescreen/excuse.

  3. Peter L

    I haven’t read the whole ECFS thread but I think the FCC should grant them an STA. An alternative would be to license them under Part 5 (assuming commercial, non-common carrier can be made to fit there).

    Two reasons. There are, basically, no restrictions on what can go over a cellular phone link (any band) or WiFi (et al) so why not extend that model (not the technology itself) to HF? Now, because it’s HF, you will quickly run into International Radio Regulations which the USA is a party to (no, the UN does not impose them on the USA – go back to bed). If there isn’t an ITU reg against this, good, but if there is a prohibition, then there is probably an STA-like facility to allow it on a time-limited/experimental basis,

    This might be a huge thing for fintech where fortunes are made and lost by being able to place bets nanoseconds before the other guy.

    Which brings up the 2nd thing – let them do this and there is a better than even chance it doesn’t work as expected and that it will go away inside 5 years.

    HF is largely abandoned save for Military, Marine and Aviation, and Amateur. Finding a use for this spectrum means a deep-pocketed customer potentially pouring millions of dollars in R&D into antenna system and transceiver designs that will, one way or another end up in your future Icom.

  4. Jock Elliott

    I would encourage folks to read the linked documents.

    There are some curious things there:

    . “If the Commission grants a waiver that allows DPA Mac to
    offer non-broadcast services in a portion of otherwise idle spectrum adjacent to the 10 kHz DRM
    signal, revenues from that service can be used to offset the costs of constructing and operating
    the station. ”

    “DPA Mac’s innovative service would advance the Commission’s efforts to promote
    resilient networks because HF stations located in and authorized by the United States are less
    vulnerable to attacks from U.S. adversaries than networks located abroad or in space, and serve
    as important avenues for communications in the event of a disaster or hostile action by a foreign
    power. ”

    “At the same time,
    DPA Mac’s service would help rejuvenate the HF band—which remains a grossly underused
    resource despite its distinguishing robustness, reach, and low-latency—by introducing a new
    broadcast transmission that amplifies U.S. news and advances U.S. business interests abroad.”

    The staff meeting presentation, here — https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/1110171119378/2 — perked my interest as well.

    Curiouser and curiouser.

    Cheers, Jock


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