Former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps is open to providing more spectrum for the purpose of expanding access to broadband – but he is also mindful of the possibility that there is already a lot of spectrum lying fallow. He is among those calling for a full inventory, a prescription hailed by the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance.
ATBA cited remarks made during an appearance on C-CPAN’s “The Communicators.”
Copps said he did not think that anybody had a true handle on exactly how much spectrum is available and unused, and said we should find out.
He also said he saw no real point in taking spectrum from on consolidated industry and handing it over to another. The Alliance noted that its proposal to find ways to effectively share spectrum utilizing advanced technologies would go a long way to advancing both broadcast and wireless.
Copps also noted that an unintended consequence of spectrum auctions and station repacking could be the loss of non-commercial and small niche television broadcasters, further reducing diversity in the television space.
Alliance Executive Director Irwin Podhajser commented, “It is heartening to see that an FCC Commissioner is speaking up about the potential impact to smaller diverse stations. It has been our contention through this whole process that the auction/repack plan is simply bad policy that will not raise the desired revenue and will not solve the wireless broadband issues of our country. It will be bad for broadcasters, smaller wireless companies and consumers. It is time for us to create more choices and competition, not entrench a few large wireless monopolies.”
RBR-TVBR observation: The fact that Copps was often one of the sternest critics of the broadcast sector underscored the value he attributed to it. The fact that even as a critic he feels it is important to protect broadcast television carries a great deal of weight.