TAB is keeping tabs on FCC’s spectrum plans


Whit Adamson of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters defended broadcast television’s spectrum turf in a guest editorial published at the He pointed out that broadcast and broadband should not be thought of as mutually-exclusive services. Meanwhile, NAB’s Gordon Smith growled about “appointed bureaucrats” threatening the space.

Smith, the President/CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, told the National Journal, “If we don’t jump as they suggested, we will be forced to do so. This was hatched by appointed bureaucrats that have come to believe that broadcasting is a threat to democracy. I mean, give me a break.”

In his Tennessean piece, Adamson wrote, “Spectrum is a finite resource, and broadcasters have been efficient stewards of our allocation obligation as a free service with the public’s interest in mind. Any effort to eliminate or reduce broadcast spectrum and coverage would be a disservice to America.”

Adamson explained how the broadcast model of spectrum use accommodates an unlimited number of simultaneous users with no strain on the system whatsoever. He said, “Each distribution model has its advantages and disadvantages. For certain content, especially high-demand video content, broadcast distribution is clearly more efficient. Eliminating or reducing broadcast television will dramatically strain wireless broadband networks, as customers accessing video and other content are increasingly forced to rely on inefficient point-to-point distribution models in which each additional user puts more strain on the network.”

Addressing the problem of bringing broadband to underserved rural areas, Adamson pointed out the licensed use of the highly-sought-after television white spaces would be a practical solution to an otherwise intractable problem that could be put into operation very quickly.

Adamson also addressed the investment of both broadcasters and citizens in digital technology, and the need to keep broadcasters free to innovate and compete. “The rate of innovation will only quicken over the coming years as broadcasters experiment with new technologies like 3D television. However, if broadcast spectrum is limited or eliminated, these innovations will not occur and both broadcasters and the viewing public will suffer.

RBR-TVBR observation: We think that broadcasters are holding a lot of strong face cards and quite a few aces in their hand at this point – but it is disturbing that they have even been called to this particular gaming table. It is good to see that broadcasters are not wasting so much as a day in putting up a strong defense.