Oh, you guys. You know how I love a good spectrum story. Or any spectrum story. Because it’s the future of what we’re going to be able to do online and how enormous a pile of money we’ll have to fork over in order to do so. Politico reports on TV broadcasters getting together in Las Vegas to talk about how to defend all of their spectrum from the FCC. The government wants to buy back some of the spaces between channels in order to make those frequencies available to wireless companies in order to serve our insatiable hunger to dink around on our phones.
The wireless industry says the public has voted and wants more wireless access, thus the soaring amounts of data usage and the flocking to smartphones.
Broadcasters see their future as a mixture of broadcast and wireless, and they argue that their use of spectrum — their signals go from one-to-many recipients — is a better use of the limited federal airwaves than wireless carriers’ one-to-one recipient service.
Broadcasters said many are not interested in turning over spectrum that in some cases was allocated to them 50 years ago by the government. “They like the business,” said Ralph Oakley, president and chief executive of Quincy, a broadcaster in 10 small to midsized markets, of broadcasters he talks to who balk at the suggestion.
Any potential auction would be voluntary although broadcasters want to play as nice as they can with the FCC since all use of spectrum is not really ownership; it’s licensing that needs to be renewed.