According to National Journal’s Tech Daily Dose, the top dog at the FCC has assured the top dog at the NAB that the surrender of television spectrum for broadband will be strictly voluntary as advertised, and that the government won’t ever get to a compulsory option.
The report says the promise was made by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith, and speculates that the private agreement was reflected in a change in tone in public comments by both parties.
The discussions between the two honchos were said to have taken place at last week’s NAB confab in Las Vegas.
The FCC proposal as outlined in the National Broadband Plan would offer television broadcasters some of the auction proceeds from any returned spectrum. According to the report, Smith told a panel in Las Vegas that he sincerely doubted that Congress would approve any such use of cash compensation to broadcasters for something they technically do not own in the first place.
RBR-TVBR observation: There are multi-gazillion moving parts to the spectrum use issue, and there is a cast of thousands that would do legendary directory Cecil B. DeMille proud. So we believe two things – that at best this agreement must be taken with a heaping helping of salt, and at the same time, it will likely be difficult and time-consuming to significantly diminish the presence of such an important – and popular – spectrum tenant as broadcast television.