Pro-television coalition sees silver lining in deficit failure


The Coalition for Free TV and Broadband, for one, is glad that the Special Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to agree on a plan, given that the one on the table would have included a hastily-drafted television spectrum incentive auction element. CFTVB says the Washington stall should be used to study its own Broadband Overlay plan as an alternative to auctions.

The Coalition believes its plan, which would bring broadcast television’s digital capability into the mix for providing broadband, is far superior to simply turning spectrum over to wireless companies. They say their plan has the potential to offers $200B in deficit reduction, compared to the estimated $6.8M mini-dent the auction would provide. It’s all keyed to the efficiency of the broadcast one-to-many distribution paradigm, compared to the spectrum-hogging one-to-one mobile model.

Committee chairman Irwin Podhajser says lawmakers should carefully study the proposed Overlay Plan. “Instead of confiscating thousands of television stations across America, dealing with inevitable conflicts with Canada and Mexico over shared frequencies and forcing thousands of people to lose their jobs, Congress has a golden opportunity to utilize the existing television infrastructure to deliver low-cost broadband service to urban and rural areas.”

“We thank each member of the Super Committee for their work in trying to accomplish a very difficult task,” said Coalition member Jim West, President of LegacyTV. “However, this could be a silver lining. It gives us all time to wisely consider alternative means of lowering the deficit, with a progressive, technologically superior, economically-vetted plan.”

“From the smallest community station to the largest market broadcaster, the U.S. needs over-the-air television,” says Lee Miller, Coalition member and CEO of LufkinTV. “The current scheme to auction off television spectrum will destroy free over-the-air television broadcasting, will kill jobs and jeopardize national security.”

RBR-TVBR observation: There are quite a few issues regarding the repurposing of television spectrum that seem to have been glossed over, including the taking of a detailed spectrum inventory and the consideration of options such as the Coalition is offering. We’ve been calling for more careful consideration of this issue, and agree on this issue, the supercommittee’s failure was benign.