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By siding with wireless providers, the federal government will get the money it needs to finance its national broadband initiative. That money will come at the loss of TV broadcasters, though, which may be forced to give up spectrum for the auctions.  (Source: BPSCPAS)
Wireless service providers look to get more spectrum for next generation wireless gadgets

For some television providers, the Federal Communication Commission's ambitious National Broadband Plan is no big deal.  After all, while it will attempt to deliver a reasonably-priced national competitor to overpriced local cable internet offerings, it will also give telecoms extra bandwidth in order to pay for the national offering.

For some TV providers, who lack wireless offerings, though, the situation could be decidedly worse.  The FCC is determined to auction off one ninth (300 MHz of spectrum, in total) of the 300 MHz to 3 GHz UHF zone in so-called "incentive auctions".

The FCC on Monday created [PDF] a "spectrum task force" to "advance the FCC’s spectrum agenda and promote collaboration across the agency."  That group is plotting "the execution of the spectrum recommendations in the National Broadband Plan, including long-term spectrum planning."

TV station owners face having their spectrum seized from them to fuel America's passion for smartphones.  While they will receive a portion of the auction proceeds (the federal government will also pocket a share), they will be left with less spectrum to broadcast on.

The National Broadband Plan insists that this is fair, stating, "This sharing of proceeds creates appropriate incentives for incumbents to cooperate with the FCC in reallocating their licensed spectrum to services that the market values more highly."

It's hard to say just how big an effect on television providers, particularly small broadcasters, the plan might have.  Under the guidance of Julius Knapp, Chief of the FCC's Office of Engineering Technology, and Ruth Milkman, head of the Wireless  Telecommunications Bureau, the FCC seems intent to carry through with it, though, for better or worse.

The National Association of Broadcasters has already let its position be known, loud and clear [PDF]: "We cannot endorse this proposal."

But when it comes to federal regulators, they may discover that they don't have a choice in the matter.

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By Alphafox78 on 4/27/2010 1:04:36 PM , Rating: 3
In Soviet America the spectrum siezes you!!

RE: Soviet
By JediJeb on 4/27/2010 1:52:59 PM , Rating: 5
The new USSR ( United States Socialist Republic)

RE: Soviet
By Alphafox78 on 4/27/2010 3:05:06 PM , Rating: 2
exactly my point

RE: Soviet
By mcnabney on 4/27/2010 3:48:55 PM , Rating: 3
And the point is that you both don't have a clue.

Broadcasters were GIVEN their very valuable spectrum for nothing. That is socialism. Socialism that dates back 80 years. We are now going to have some CAPITALISM. Underutilized spectrum that hasn't been put to work is going to be sold to companies that will use it.

RE: Soviet
By sleepeeg3 on 4/27/2010 9:18:35 PM , Rating: 2
Capitalism doesn't involve government redistributing the wealth. Where is the money for the spectrum going? Straight to the government. If the cable companies were given a license to the spectrum, they should receive full compensation for the redistribution of the spectrum. Instead, the government uses this as an excuse to collect more taxes.

This is how the government works, gentleman. If they see an opportunity that the majority agree with, they use it as an excuse to "punish" the entity that the majority are against and take all the taxes for themselves. This is how they try to justify taxes on coke, fried foods, banks, corporations, polluters, etc. Most people are too stupid to realize that the taxes never go to help the majority - the only thing that is benefiting from these taxes is the government.

RE: Soviet
By mcnabney on 4/28/2010 9:25:10 AM , Rating: 2
Nothing is being redistributed you brainless ninny.

The 'airwaves' in this nation are regulated by the government in order to prevent absolute chaos. Sections of spectrum are alloted for hundreds of purposes. Some chunks are left open for uses like cordless phones, RC toys, WiFi, and local 2-way radio devices. Other chunks are reserved for the military, science, government functions, emergency services, and commercial/private aviation. The type we are talking about here are licensed/leased chunks of spectrum that are assigned or leased to private companies.

The government once gave these chunks of spectrum to private companies in order to develop a strong and competitive broadcasting infrastructure which would benefit all citizens. All they had to do was follow some basic rules that were managed by the FCC and they got their spectrum for free. Then came private wireless companies. Because they charge for their services it was decided that they would have to lease the frequencies they use instead getting them for nothing. That is why closed/private organizations have to acquire spectrum at auction.

Recently things have changed. The explosion of bandwidth intensive wireless (3G/4G) devices has pushed some carriers (AT&T) to the limits of their spectrum portfolios. At the same time broadcasters are underutilizing the fresh new spectrum they were given during the digital conversion. The government wants businesses and services to flourish so the obvious choice was to put underutilized TV spectrum to better use by allowing other private companies to buy it.

They really shouldn't even give any TV station revenue from the auction. They didn't pay for it and it is their own fault for not using what they had in the first place.

RE: Soviet
By JediJeb on 4/28/2010 3:33:27 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing is being redistributed you brainless ninny.

Hmmm if nothing is being redistributed then that means the original users of this spectrum will still be using it. If it is given to someone else then it is being taken away from one user and given to another. That latter sounds like redistribution to me.

At the same time broadcasters are underutilizing the fresh new spectrum they were given during the digital conversion.

Actually broadcasters were not given fresh new spectrum in the digital conversion. They are still broadcasting in PART of the original spectrum. The rest has already been taken from them and auctioned off, now the FCC is taking more. Even during analog broadcasts they weren't under utilizing the spectrum, the FCC just wanted to have them use less spectrum so they forced the conversion to digital which allows stations to operate in a narrower band. True they do transmit more data in that narrower band which increases bandwidth efficiency, but overall the service quality I believe is less than it was when it was analog as I have posted in another thread here.

RE: Soviet
By FITCamaro on 4/28/2010 10:11:41 PM , Rating: 2
So your idea of capitalism is to take spectrum previously alloted to one group, sell it to a second group, and then use that to GIVE AWAY broadband. Therefore taking away a large portion of the customer base for the second group. Because who's going to pay for broadband to check their email when they can get it for free. Then as companies withdraw from the market, the government will expand its nationwide broadband to service more needs. Eventually becoming the only provider. Just like it plans to do with health care at the moment.

Yeah sounds like capitalism....

Seems Strange
By clovell on 4/27/2010 12:13:12 PM , Rating: 3
So, it sounds like the FCC is effectively using something not too far in spirit from a digital eminent domain to take/auction off the spectrum from smaller broadcasters to larger telecoms. Gotta be more to it...

RE: Seems Strange
By Spivonious on 4/27/2010 12:37:55 PM , Rating: 5
Kind of, although the government already owns the use of the spectrum; broadcasters are simply renting the space.

RE: Seems Strange
By mcnabney on 4/28/2010 9:25:55 AM , Rating: 2
Broadcasters get their spectrum for free.

RE: Seems Strange
By Spivonious on 4/28/2010 10:59:41 AM , Rating: 2
No, they pay a license fee to the FCC.

RE: Seems Strange
By Chadder007 on 4/27/2010 1:25:17 PM , Rating: 2
Follow The Money.
Each and Every Time.

RE: Seems Strange
By RU482 on 4/27/2010 2:10:49 PM , Rating: 2
was thinking the same thing

This will be disastrous if it happens
By thatmikeguy on 4/27/2010 1:59:08 PM , Rating: 3
This would push some local TV stations out the door, because of the way UHF works. The stations had to get frequencies that allowed for better transmissions where they are located. (location, location, location, it always holds true) Many stations would simply not be able to be received (especially on some higher bands) by a huge amount of their viewer base. Many people are using the OTA broadcast TV, because it's free. I know all of this because I've setup more than a few now. I use an HDHomerun, that tells me the mhz and how much data is going over the air. Conditions already have to be almost perfect for OTA digital TV as it is. The 15-19meg a second throughput on an average NBC HD program requires it. This will is all about content control. Just like above, follow the money = truth. You see, it's legal to record HDTV using an OTA antenna, and the blocks they tried to get working, do not. Also, they want TV to move faster into the cell phone market (money), where it takes 4x as much broadcast power to accomplish the same task. Plus, some broadcasters are having trouble keeping things running as is, and they are ready to let go given a good excuse, and why not when there are as many (if not more) commercials on cable/satellite already? Plus, there are a thousand ways to spin this, that will make the average Joe believe this is a good plan.

RE: This will be disastrous if it happens
By JediJeb on 4/27/2010 2:11:38 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, it is kinda sad that you pay for premium services like cable and satellite yet also receive what seems to be more commercials than you do on "free" services OTA. If they want to do so much regulating of the business how about they add one that for every dollar they charge for your TV service they have to reduce the average advertising minutes per channel by 1% compared to the average advertising minutes per channel of OTA services. Why should we pay to watch more advertising instead of less?

RE: This will be disastrous if it happens
By namechamps on 4/28/2010 12:10:24 PM , Rating: 2
Then don't pay.

I don't. If they want to be 50 minutes of ads per hours and 10 minutes of content that is the choice of the content provider & network.

If you chose to pay and then watch "too many commercials" then who's fault is that?

OTA Antenna + Tivo HD + lifetime service < years worth of cable charges.

Plenty of content on OTA networks for free. Combine that with netflix & Hulu more than I could possibly watch.

By JediJeb on 4/28/2010 3:41:06 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly the only thing I pay for is the cheapest DirecTV plan I can get that carries SciFi channel and BBCA for Dr Who. If someone would broadcast that OTA then I definitely would not subscribe to any service. Of course SciFi is about to lose me anyway because they keep dropping so much real SciFi and running nothing but B grade monster movies now.

RE: This will be disastrous if it happens
By thatmikeguy on 4/27/2010 2:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
I was sitting at McDonald's on lunch literally an hour ago, and on the other side of the booth partition sat 3 50+ year old ladies. Guess what they were talking about. The one said that she has more than 7 TV sets, and none work. The second one said that she got the black box, and now she has three remotes and after many hours on the phone with the black box 1-800 number, she now knows her TV must be set on chan3, but now her VCR/DVD combo does not work, even though the store person hooked it all up, and charged her for it. The third lady just sit there for most of this conversation, and finally said, "well that's why I just don't watch much TV now, the signal is not as good as before, why did they do this?". I didn't want to make waves, so I didn't say anything, but this is the American TV disaster.

By mcnabney on 4/27/2010 3:55:19 PM , Rating: 3
What isn't broadly known is that broadcasters almost universally dropped their signal strength at the digital transission. So range has dropped dramatically.


Because local broadcasters charge cable and satelite companies a fee to 'rebroadcast' their stations on their private networks. So they would prefer as few people have antennas (which they get nothing for) as possible. In ten years TV station won't even have a tower. They will 'broadcast' from a pair of bunny ears and only people on the same block will have a signal. Behold, the end of free TV.

Loss of analog now loss of more spectrum
By JediJeb on 4/27/2010 2:04:03 PM , Rating: 2
I thought it was going to be great when they made all the stations switch to digital. There was going to be more content, HD, ect. Problem is the reception for digital stinks now compared to the old analog signal.

Worse thing now is when we have severe weather, I lose signal on DirectTV and my local over the air digital stations. On analog is you had a reduction in signal you could still get the severe weather updates even if they were a little fuzzy. With digital it is just like the satellite, once the signal falls to a certain point you lose everything, goes from perfect picture to no picture at all. The FCC needs to look into letting stations boost their transmission power during bad weather simply for the purpose of keeping people informed of potentially serious weather conditions. It was bad enough when I lived in town and the cable would go out every time it rained, now out in the rural area where I live I lose everything.

Sure you can listen to the radio when the weather is bad, but you can't see the maps with the tracks of the storms and tornadoes to know exactly where they are headed. Radio at best only lets you know one might be headed your way or tells you what happened after it is over.

Will this loss in spectrum further reduce the service to those in rural areas?

RE: Loss of analog now loss of more spectrum
By meepstone on 4/27/2010 3:03:07 PM , Rating: 2
While losing signal is nothing new for everyone with satelitte I seriously doubt they will up the power to transmit about weather conditions. If your tv signal just went out cus of bad weather.. I'm pretty sure they know by then, unless its a deaf, blind person trying to watch tv and couldnt hear or see the storm.

RE: Loss of analog now loss of more spectrum
By HotFoot on 4/27/2010 4:17:08 PM , Rating: 3
There's weathering out the storm playing cards on the kitchen table and then there's squeezing your family into the cellar because of tornado warnings.

By JediJeb on 4/28/2010 3:37:44 PM , Rating: 2
True and as I said it is much harder to know where the tornado is listening to a radio than being able to see it on a TV screen where they show you the exact location on a map.

By pequin06 on 4/27/2010 3:59:09 PM , Rating: 1
overpriced local cable internet offerings

How is it overpriced?
If someone is willing to pay for it, charge as much as you can get.
A business is not there to be your friend.

RE: Overpriced?
By mcnabney on 4/28/2010 9:29:39 AM , Rating: 4
That only works in fair and competitive markets. There are dozens of companies competing for my cellular service. For TV I can choose between 1 local cable company and satelite. Not exactly competitive.

Read the English translation
By HoosierEngineer5 on 4/28/2010 12:27:39 PM , Rating: 2
"Values more highly" means "willing to pay more money". Services will be able to charge more by carefully allocating this limited precious resource. Hang onto your wallets, the big guys are going to push out competition, and the FCC is right behind it. This is not capitalism or competition, it's collusion. Big business gets a cut, the government gets taxes. Groups trying to serve populace will be squeezed out.

Hope I'm wrong.

By thatmikeguy on 4/28/2010 4:59:12 PM , Rating: 2
You are not wrong. In the past these things took time, but the technologies and practices we have now cause these things to snowball fast. Our economy is suffering in many ways. Elderly people are going to be stuck without anything if this keeps up. They are not tech savvy overall, and they do not ask for much, but they NEED news and information. When I have to tell an older person, well if you had a 32" TV before and were having trouble reading things, to get the same viewable area up and down, you really need at least a 52" TV. Now, what's the price difference on this TV that they will probably have greater difficulties using? Our government needs to start thinking more responsibly.

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