Donovan questions FCC focus on TV spectrum


Saying that television broadcasters are sitting on a mere 5.1% of “beachfront” spectrum, Association of Maximum Service Television President David Donovan wondered why the FCC seems so focused on moving into that particular sliver. He also echoed the promise of the NAB to work with the FCC to identify useful and open spectrum for broadband needs.

“We look forward to working with the Commission to help facilitate the national broadband plan,” said Donovan in response to recent remarks by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “Local television stations are a critical component of this nation’s wireless ecosystem. As a point-to-multi-point service, we are the most spectrally efficient way to transmit high quality video content simultaneously to millions of viewers over large geographic areas. Since the DTV transition, more than 1400 new multicast program channels are now on the air, HDTV news and programs are commonplace, and mobile video is rolling out now! We use spectrum efficiently.

He continued, “MSTV is struck by the apparent focus on reducing spectrum now used by local television stations to achieve the Broadband Task Force’s objective. We have exclusive use of only 5.1% of the so-called beachfront spectrum that broadband services desire. To this end, we have supported a spectrum inventory to assess spectrum use and demand by all entities using spectrum.”

“We will examine the ‘voluntarily’ plan closely,” said Donovan. He then concluded, “In these tough economic times, consumers should not be forced to sacrifice acess to their favorite free, local TV programs, news, emergency information, and local mobile video services in order to divert spectrum to the wireless telephone companies that will turn around and provide pay-based services.”