Broadcasters dodge damage in debt deal


President Barack Obama and congressional leaders finally put a tentative end to the debt ceiling crisis over the weekend with a deal that is expected to get enough votes to make it into law. The good news for broadcasters – there is no provision to make spectrum auctions part of the plan.

While the deal does not end the controversy surrounding the desire to pull 120 MHz of spectrum out of the television band to provide space for broadband applications, it at least allows that debate to proceed at a reasonable pace, with time for due consideration of the many technical issues the debate brings to the fore.

NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith stated, “We are pleased that the negotiated debt ceiling bill, to be considered by Congress, does not threaten free and local broadcasting. NAB will continue working with lawmakers on incentive auction legislation that is truly voluntary. Our goal is to ensure that TV stations choosing not to go out of business will be held harmless, and that tens of millions of Americans who enjoy local news, entertainment, sports and lifesaving weather warnings from broadcasters will not be penalized.”

For anybody who is interested in having a gander at the bill, a copy is available here.