NATPE counsel sees broadcasters dodging spectrum loss


The Washington attorney for the National Association of Television Program Executives is looking at the wording of recent FCC statements on spectrum in the television band, and sees cause for a sense of relief among those in the broadcast community.

The FCC has put forward the idea of a voluntary auction in which television licensees could put their swath of spectrum up for sale to the highest bidder, who presumably would put it to use delivering wireless broadband.
NATPE’s Mickey Gardner says the key word is “voluntary.” He said that there was plenty of evidence that the FCC was going to try to get Congress to repurpose television spectrum somewhat more forcefully. The appearance of the word “voluntary” in the latest communications on the topic is clear evidence that a straight land grab is not in the works.

However, just because broadcasters seem to have dodged the bullet now is no reason to believe that it won’t be fired again in the coming years. Pressure on spectrum is only going to increase, and Gardner suggests eternal vigilance by telecasters to make sure they hang on to what they have.

RBR-TVBR observation: We would counsel putting the spectrum to continued excellent use, so that when a spectrum scavenger hunt does take place, the last place anybody would look is the television area – because it is already providing value to US citizens.

We see tremendous potential in the community emergency possibilities of mobile over-air television. Get that running in good order and the ongoing relevance and importance of over-air television will be impossible to refute.