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NAB Ticked Off At CEA Spectrum 'Clock'

The Consumer Electronics Association, which has been cranking up its campaign for broadcast spectrum via its blog and new studies, has created a "spectrum crunch clock" that claims to tally the "lost opportunity costs to the U.S. economy and consumers with every minute we delay responsibly managing our nation's spectrum resources." NAB calls it more of a crock than a clock.

The online counter calculates that "lost" cost at $14,444 per minute, and set the "clock" to a total that dates the accounting from March 16, 2010, when the National Broadband Plan was unveiled. At press time, the clock (actually more of a numerical tally along the lines of those national debt counters) was at $34,405,110,797 and constantly increasing at a rate.

The National Association of Broadcasters was quick to dismiss it as a stunt.

"Instead of engaging in productive dialogue, we've come to expect childish gimmicks and hysteria from our CEA friends," said NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton. "The facts are these: broadcasters gave back 108 MHz of spectrum less than two years ago, some of which has yet to be deployed. NAB has never opposed the notion of broadcasters voluntarily giving back additional spectrum, so long as non-volunteers are held harmless. Finally, we would suggest that CEA ask whether Alabamans who are crediting local television with saving their lives during tornado coverage last week whether TV spectrum is 'underutilized.'"

Elsewhere Thursday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski was putting in another pitch to Congress to pass legislation that would compensate broadcasters for giving up that spectrum for wireless broadband.