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25th Anniversary of FCC Decision Enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

25th Anniversary of FCC Decision Enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
A series of posts describing how this all came about. (Click on picture above)

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Progress & Freedom Foundation

Let's Make a Deal: Broadcasters, Mobile Broadband, and a Market in Spectrum

Proposals to have television broadcasters return a portion of their spectrum for re-allocation and auction for next-generation mobile broadband and data services have been met with strong reactions from broadcasters. Is re-allocation of spectrum necessary to encourage broadband expansion? Would compensation for broadcasters be adequate? Will Congress go along with such a deal, or would it be blocked as contrary to "the public interest?" These and other policy issues will be discussed at " Let's Make a Deal: Broadcasters, Mobile Broadband, and a Market in Spectrum ," a Congressional Seminar hosted by The Progress & Freedom Foundation.

Speakers include
FCC's Blair Levin, Coleman Bazelon of The Brattle Group, Kostas Liopiros of The Sun Fire Group David Donovan, President of the Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc., and John Hane, Counsel in the communications practice group of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP to discuss if a "grand bargain" to re-allocate spectrum is wise and if it is a feasible option to free spectrum for mobile services. Adam Thierer, President of The Progress & Freedom Foundation, will act as moderator of the event.

" Let's Make a Deal: Broadcasters, Mobile Broadband, and a Market in Spectrum ," will be held Tuesday, December 1st from 9:00am to 11:00am in the Holeman Lounge, 13th Floor, at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW in Washington, DC. Those interested in attending can register here. Questions should be directed to Allison Bringardner at abringardner@pff.org or 202-289-8928.

Your blogger presented a similar proposal in his comments to the Wireless Innovation Inquiry, Docket 09-157:

Para. 54 (of the NOI) seeks comment on “innovations in the use of renewable energy and other green technology to makes wireless networks more energy efficient or address other environmental concerns.” At the risk of saying the obvious, the TV broadcast band uses a large amount of electric power to transmit RF signals that are actually received by an ever decreasing number of subscribers. The main apparent need for these transmitters is to guarantee to broadcast licensees “must carry” status with CATV systems. The use of electric power and the RF occupancy appears to be mainly a byproduct of this desired endgoal that gives 90+% of the viewership of licensed TV broadcasters. While over-the- air broadcasting gives consumers access to broadcast signals at no marginal cost compared to the pricing of MVDS service, policy options exist to offer basic MVDS service as comparable cost. For example, part of fees from new users utilizing former TV spectrum could be used to finance “lifeline” MVDS service.

MSS has no objection to giving present TV broadcasters long term must carry status, but questions why this must be accompanied with the waste of electric power and squatting on spectrum to deny it to others. While it is not possible under present law to let broadcasters keep must carry status without transmitting largely “unreceived” signals, MSS urges the Commission to explore and make recommendations to Congress for giving TV broadcasters incentives to cease using large amounts of electric power and cease filling spectrum with largely unwatched signals while retaining today’s must carry rights.

No broadcaster commented directly on this point, although MSTV and NAB in joint reply comments chose to mischaracterize it - no doubt to avoid addressing the point in question. Thus it is interesting to see that MSTV's president will be present at the PFF forum.

Transcript of event

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