CEA strikes back at NAB spectrum report


The Consumer Electronics Association issued a critique of the report on the impact of spectrum repacking on broadcast television’s future. It believes that NAB is creating a worst-case scenario to set up and knock down.

CEA SVP Michael Petricone stated, “The NAB study sets up and knocks down a purely fictional straw man. The study presumes an unrealistic scenario in which every single existing TV station continues to operate over-the-air. However in the event of incentive spectrum auctions, it is highly likely numerous stations will capitalize on their spectrum assets by exiting the business or sharing resources.

“More, the NAB study implies that many broadcasters will be forced to auction their spectrum. However, current congressional legislation includes only voluntary incentive auctions and reimbursement expenses for relocation costs.

“Our nation faces a crisis as demand for wireless spectrum will soon outstrip supply. Meanwhile, the number of Americans relying purely on over-the-air TV is less than 10 percent, according to both CEA and Nielsen market research. Incentive auctions would be a financial windfall for broadcasters, free up the spectrum necessary for the next generation of American innovation to move forward and bring in $33 billion to the U.S. Treasury.

“Spectrum auctions would be a win-win-win for the United States. CEA, CTIA – the Wireless Association, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Obama Administration and numerous members of Congress support spectrum incentive auctions. NAB stands alone and is simply trying to protect its business interests.”

RBR-TVBR observation: If NAB is completely out of line, then somebody else needs to also create a detailed assessment of the possible impact of the auctions. It’s nice to get the whispered promises from the FCC and other vested interests, telling us that everything will be OK, while providing zip in the way of evidence.

It would also be nice for the mobile industry to prove that it can handle the job during emergencies. But it will be hard to do, because thus far, the industry’s ability to be a useful tool doesn’t even rise to the level of lackluster.

Finally, they CEA can quote a “windfall” estimate of $33B for the US Treasury as a result of auctions. However, CBO estimates a top line number of $24.5B, out of which only $6.5B would be deficit-defraying profit.