Sprint says telco need for TV spectrum greatly exaggerated


The battle over television spectrum and the plans wireless companies have to buy their way into that space with help from the FCC and Congress has been perhaps the biggest communications regulatory story of the year. But one of the wireless companies, Sprint, says there isn’t need for more spectrum.

According to a Network World article, the need is simply for better spectrum planning.

Sprint has been doing its best to undermine the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile by telco giant AT&T, and it apparently splits company with AT&T on the spectrum issue as well.

Many reports have noted that wireless companies are already sitting on large amounts of fallow spectrum. However, they have their eyes firmly focused on the “beachfront” property that is home to free over-the-air television, and the FCC under Chairman Julius Genachowski has been assisting them in pushing for channel repacking and an incentive auction program to free up space there for wireless broadband.

Broadcasters question the need for television spectrum in most areas where there remains plenty of spectrum space; and question the feasibility of it in the large markets where the airwaves are crowded, and in border markets where international treaties have an impact on the availability of television spectrum.

Having completed the digital transition only two years ago, television broadcasters are still learning how to maximize the service they can offer the public from their new digital facilities – and one such service could be to offer on-demand video via the broadcast one-to-many model rather than the internet’s inefficient one-to-one model.

If Sprint is correct, there is no need for any conflict at all – wireless companies need only work to achieve their goals with the spectrum they are already sitting on.