FCC Looks To TV Spectrum To Boost Mobile Broadband

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News Posted: Wed, Apr 13 2011 3:44 PM
The world belongs to the airwaves, and we're just breathing it all in. Or something like that. The FCC has been trying to figure out what to do with wireless spectrum for a few years now, first ushering in the analog-to-digital TV transition and then auctioning off unused 700MHz wireless spectrum. But now, the agency is saying that they need authority to "hold incentive auctions that would compensate television broadcasters for giving up some of their spectrum to wireless companies." The issue at stake is simple: the FCC sees a looming bandwidth crisis, and they are suggesting that some of the US airwaves used for free OTA TV signals must be "repurposed for mobile broadband."

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski stated: "I believe the single most important step that will drive our mobile economy and address consumer frustration is authorizing voluntary incentive auctions." That's a bold statement to make, but it's obvious what side he's on. Broadcasters have been (unsurprisingly) hesitant to go along with the plan. Alan Frank, chief executive of Post-Newsweek Stations Inc, had this to say: "We're talking about putting the whole system at risk. We need to start defining not how the auction works, but what this is going to mean for the broadcasters who don't participate in the auction."

The FCC is hoping to get both parties to come to a compromise, ensuring that the broadcasters' fears will be dealt with. Whatever happens, we'd love for mobile broadband to be expanded. It's already clear that America needs more of it, so the sooner the better in our minds.
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rapid1 replied on Thu, Apr 14 2011 11:44 AM

I agree with the assessments completely, but think they need to work on a better broadcast format. It would seem to me that this bandwidth would be more called for in an area where there is a land based network platform for the television broadcasting area of the platform. As smart phones become more and more the norm the wireless broadcast spectrum will be more a neccesity than a want.

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Make a free cable package with the same stations you get OTA and then talk about removing antenna driven frequencies...

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wannab replied on Thu, Apr 14 2011 9:51 PM

"Make a free cable package with the same stations you get OTA and then talk about removing antenna driven frequencies..."


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rrplay replied on Thu, Apr 14 2011 10:23 PM

I would really like to see the FCC make it mandatory to provide free OTA TV cable if they must TAKE the OTA free bandwidth for mobile. but seriously do not think the FCC has the teeth for big business like Comcast and of course AT&T.Or at the very least compromise that the individual service be mandatory to choose from rather than tha so called bundle available in some area limited due to lack of updating there infrastructure at there exspense ..they will always be sure to get the $$ from us in the end no matter what 'compromise' the FCC works out.

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AKwyn replied on Thu, Apr 14 2011 11:30 PM

On one hand, this'll sure do wonders for mobile broadband. On the other hand, what the hell?

OTA television is one of the most important things belonging to television. It allows anybody with a TV station to serve a local community and customize programming to that specific community, just like radio stations.

I get that it's only some but I feel like it's one step closer to the death of OTA television. Soon we'll be forced to subscribe to cable providers or Hulu to get the TV programming we want.


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