Wireless chip manufacturer Qualcomm and CTIA-The Wireless Association are saying it may be time to give up on the idea of turning the spectrum gaps in between television stations into the wild, wild West and going to a license auction instead to put the spectrum to good use. This is in opposition to tech giants who want unlicensed devices approved. The hang up has been proof that signal-sensing devices can be developed that will not interfere with incumbent users of the spectrum. The incumbents are primarily broadcast television stations.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV) have been vocal opponents of the unlicensed devices scheme, but have said they’d be open to using the spectrum for licensed devices as long as television signals are protected from interference. The issue is particularly acute with the DTV transition coming up in less than six months – and in a week and a half in the case of Wilmington NC.
According to the Washington Post, the licensing proposal is getting attention on Capitol Hill and at the FCC. Budget conscious lawmakers are well aware that auctions are an excellent way to feed the US Treasury.
RBR/TVBR observation: Proponents of unlicensed devices have yet to produce acceptable results. In fact, you’d think they’d want to be sure of their equipment before trotting it into Washington only to get a flunking grade. The lack of convincing results have torpedoed their attempt to win government approval on the public relations and lobbying battlefields. Qualcomm and CTIA are proposing a compromise which is sweetened to no small degree by its promise to help defray the national debt. It is something worth serious study.