FCC on the prowl for spectrum


The FCC reaffirmed during the latest broadband-oriented open meeting that it was hunting for spectrum to be put to use for broadband applications, and that the band currently occupied by broadcast television is still in the mix. It also received pushback from at least one television group owner.

One of the proposals detailed at the meeting was this: “Exploring various proposals that have been submitted, such as access to TV spectrum while maintaining over-the-air TV and access to federal spectrum, in conjunction with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).” There were four other areas, including one dedicated to finding spectrum for unlicensed devices.

The Commission is also looking at ways to open up a market for set-top boxes to spur innovation and perhaps use them to get broadband into houses that have a television set but not a computer.

LIN Television Corporation responded to the FCC’s earlier request for commentary on opening up television spectrum for broadband use (see story here: http://www.rbr.com/tv-cable/18991.html) by essentially not responding. It said there was no possible way to meet the FCC’s brief filing window to address such a complex topic – especially when even the bare fact that there is any need for repurposing television spectrum is in dispute.

LIN argued, “Because the record shows no evidence of a wireless spectrum shortage, considering whether free television is more or less important than wireless broadband sets up a false choice. Given the dearth of record information about the real capacity of existing but unused and underused wireless spectrum and the starkly conflicting views about the likelihood of a shortage, LIN is particularly concerned about the process that resulted in issuance of Public Notice #26, which simply assumes that a severe nationwide wireless spectrum shortage is inevitable without drastic and prompt reallocation.”

Further, LIN argued that any information provided in that short a time period would be  unreliable at best, providing an unstable basis for any consideration of the topic.

LIN concluded, “Television broadcasting is a central element of the nation’s communications services mix, and proposals that would fundamentally alter or substantially diminish the service cannot be accepted lightly.”

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