TV Broadcasters Oppose FCC Plan to Auction Airwaves

Thursday, 20 Jan 2011 01:55 PM

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing a voluntary auction of broadcast television bandwidth to accommodate the growing wireless network. Broadcasters are opposing the plan, arguing the spectrum is needed for such things as HDTV and mobile digital television, The Washington Post reports.

The FCC proposal would voluntarily auction off 120 megahertz of the television spectrum between channels 31 and 51, much of which isn’t being used. It is expected to take about a year to get approval from Congress and television stations, according to the Post.

Mobile internet usage continues to grow by leaps and bounds, with such innovations as mobile Internet for cars and appliances connecting to energy meters. Mobile networks are expected to handle 35 times as much traffic in the next five years, the Post reports.

National Association of Broadcasters’ Dennis Wharton said, "You can't take that much spectrum from broadcasters and not have devastating consequences for delivery of mobile digital television, HDTV, and other innovative services."

Broadcasters argue that airwaves currently held by the federal government should be auctioned off first and note that previously sold spectrum is still not in use.

However, Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro said "broadcasters are gearing up for a huge political battle, but the reality is that fewer people are watching over-the-air television, and we're fighting for our future of innovation," the Post reports.




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