CTIA head Steve Largent has accused low power television operators of being squatters in an editorial. The Coalition for Free TV and Broadband found that to be a very odd choice of words by Largent, since the wireless companies he represents have been called squatters themselves in two recent major spectrum studies.
Citing recent studies from Citigroup and Deutsche Bank that have shown that the true “squatters” are the wireless companies, Coalition chairman Irwin Podhajser commented, “The wireless companies’ inability to work together and roll out advanced networks has led to the false ‘wireless crunch.’ Now instead of getting their house in order, they want to crush the little guys and put them out of business all for a small amount of spectrum.”
Rod Payne, an actual LPTV operator who runs a church-based station, took particular exception to Largent’s comment. He said, “I am not a squatter. I am a public service-oriented broadcaster that uses the airwaves entrusted to our station to provide broadcast opportunities to greatly underserved groups of the American public. The fact that like many in this industry, I do not generate enormous revenue, but instead provide information, encouragement and dialogue that is being over-looked in a misguided attempt to generate a minuscule amount of revenue for this nation. Allow us and countless others in our industry, to use the spectrum that has been entrusted to us in new ways and we will provide much of the populace with communication avenues the wireless industry can only dream of.”
Lee Miller, communications director for the Coalition added, “Additionally, Mr. Largent talks about the money that will be raised for the Federal Treasury if the wireless companies get their way. As broadcasters, we have a plan as well that will create jobs, raise revenue to pay down the debt, create competition, offer broadband solutions to more of the country and best of all, won’t put over 2000 local television stations out of business.”