Tags: TV | mobile | channels

New Law Could Free Up TV Airwaves for Mobile Use

Wednesday, 29 Feb 2012 09:04 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

A new law could result in fewer TV stations on the air, in exchange for faster wireless data services for smartphones and tablet computers.

Before you rush out to download "Bad Teacher" from iTunes, though, keep in mind that several things need to happen over the next few years before people start seeing faster wireless speeds.

The law, part of a payroll tax package signed by President Barack Obama last week, gives the Federal Communications Commission authority to explore such an exchange. The FCC will have to write the rules for it in the coming months.

The idea is to squeeze over-the-air television, which has few viewers, into a smaller slice of the airwaves. Anything freed would be available for bidding by companies, including wireless carriers such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless.

Broadcasters will need to decide whether they want to give up their frequencies. Those that do could continue to operate as cable-only channels if they don't want to go out of business. Bidding for freed airwaves likely won't begin until late 2013 or early 2014, partly to give bidders time to raise money to pay for any spectrum they win.

Although vast swaths of broadcast spectrum were freed when television signals converted from analog to digital in 2009, much of that has already been claimed. Technology companies have been clamoring for even more airwaves to satisfy growing consumer appetite for movies, books and websites on mobile devices.

About 11 million households lack cable or satellite service and get TV signals only over the air, according to Nielsen. That compares with 89 million who are cable or satellite subscribers.

There are more than 330 million devices active on cellular networks, which could benefit from the transfer of the spectrum.

The FCC envisions freeing up 500 megahertz of spectrum over the next 10 years. As much as a quarter of that could come from television.

The National Association of Broadcasters isn't sure how many stations would go along, and it's watching to make sure no broadcaster will be forced to participate. Some might have to move to a different frequency, such as from Channel 49 to Channel 19, but they would be compensated to build new towers and make other adjustments. Viewers using antennas would have to find the station's new home.

Television stations once had Channels 2 to 83, except for 37, which is used for astronomy. Channels 70 to 83, mostly used to retransmit signals from other channels, disappeared in the 1980s and have been reassigned to other uses. Stations gave up Channels 52 to 69 in 2009 as part of a transition to digital broadcasts, and much of that has already been reassigned. Depending on how many stations want to participate, Channels 31 to 51, excluding 37, could be freed up.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

US NOAA: Last Month Was Hottest August Since 1880

Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 12:03 PM

Last month was the hottest August on record for global average temperatures over land and ocean surfaces, the US Nationa . . .

New Research Suggests King Richard III Suffered Traumatic Death

Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 10:55 AM

New research published in The Lancet medical journal indicates that Richard III, last of England's Plantagenet kings and . . .

Google Wants to Fly Drones Over New Mexico

Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 14:28 PM

Google is planning to begin testing drones in a virtually uninhabited area of New Mexico in pursuit of providing interne . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved