NAB alerts lawmakers to another spectrum squatter


NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith has fired off a letter to key legislators in the US Congress, alerting them to more reports that even as the FCC says spectrum is in short and dwindling supply, big MVPD and telco companies are simply sitting on unused channels.

Smith directed his remarks to the key Commerce Committee leaders, Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) in the Senate and Fred Upton (R-MI) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) in the House.

He called their attention to a recent Dish Network conference call in which Dish CEO Charles Ergen extolled the virtues of hanging on to spectrum as an asset, whether it’s currently being used or not, as a “speculative investment.”

Smith said Ergen’s latest remarks echo others he made in an earlier call in November 2010. He noted that the practice is also being undertaken by Time Warner cable and certain government agencies.

He asked that an independent agency, perhaps the GAO, undertake not just a spectrum inventory, but an inventory of hoarded spectrum.

In closing, he pointed out that the broadcast distribution model, “one to everyone,” is far more efficient that the “one-to-one” model used by cellular and wireless internet services, and suggested broadcasters may well alleviate any future “spectrum crisis.” He concluded, “We look forward to working with you to help sustain America’s competitive edge in technology.”