Originally published: December 1, 2009
Last updated: December 1, 2009 - 10:28pm
A proposal calling for reallocating broadcast television spectrum for wireless broadband use got a chilly reception from industry representatives during a forum hosted by the Progress and Freedom Foundation. Blair Levin, the head of the Federal Communications Commission's National Broadband Plan team, said the spectrum could be put to a "better, higher use." "The value of the spectrum itself is greater than the value created for broadcasters in the use of that spectrum," said Levin.
Association For Maximum Service Television President David Donovan said that broadcasters do want to work with the FCC to help explore ideas for improving broadband access in the United States. "We believe we are part of the solution,'' Donovan said. He went on to say that broadcasters have a role to play in the nation's broadband future, providing multicast services, mobile DTV, emergency information, local news and high-definition TV. "My members believe strongly that the business value proposition of over-the-air television far exceeds what would be a one-time snapshot value,'' Donovan said.
Media Access project Andy Schwartzman said broadcasters have been given an unbelievable benefit in terms of spectrum. "They sat on twice as much spectrum for 10 years. They squandered it, they haven't come up with a business model... Most of all, they have not provided the benefit to the public in terms of building a service that comes with the bargain to get free broadcast licenses," he argued. "They want all the benefits and none of the responsibilities," Schwartzman claimed. But he also says he doesn't like the idea of spectrum auctions. Instead, the public interest advocate said he is a strong advocate of the white spaces technology and its unlicensed uses.
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