Skip to main content

Broadcasters To FCC: Take Holistic Look At Spectrum

Broadcasters have told the FCC to do some more looking before it makes its wireless spectrum leap.

In comments on the FCC's spectrum proceeding, the National Association of Broadcasters outlined a five-point plan it said was the right way for the FCC to proceed: 1) assess how the wireless industry could use its spectrum from efficiently; 2) finish and put out for comment a spectrum use study; 3) weigh the costs of shifting spectrum against the potential harms to consumer and the public interest; 4) look for other ways to expand broadband access, and 5) consider and get comment on repacking and incentive auctions before it acts.

NAB was responding to the FCC's proposal to reclassify broadcast spectrum as dual use, broadcast and wireless; have broadcasters share channels, and make improvements to VHF band reception, which is inferior to UHF for DTV.

Filing its comments as the combined NAB and the Association for Maximum Service Television, the spectrum lobby group that NAB voted to incorporate into itself, NAB reiterated that it does not oppose incentive auctions, but that the FCC needs to look more broadly and consider all viewers, not just over-the-air viewers.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has pointed out that only about 10% of viewers watch TV stations over the air, but NAB was pointing to the 99% of the public that relies on over-the-air TV, "whether received over-the-air or via cable, telephone wires or satellite."

The FCC is trying to free up as much as 120 mHz of broadcast spectrum for wireless broadband within the next four years.