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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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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.

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