FCC Trying to Take Back OTA Spectrum

Apr 26, 2011 by

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, at the recent National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas, stressed again that Over-the-air television broadcasters need to begin voluntarily auctioning off their spectrum for use by mobile broadband carriers.

It’s no secret that the mobile broadband situation in the United States is a mess. One only needs to look at AT&T’s attempt to purchase T-Mobile USA to see that. We have four major carriers, and three different solutions to the problems that are only beginning to affect those wanting ultra-high-speed internet connections from their mobile devices. The FCC is trying to help with the problem by attempting to make more spectrum available to mobile broadband providers by getting television networks to auction off the spectrum that they use to broadcast network television for free to over 40 million Americans.

Genachowski and the Federal Communications Commission say that they aren’t trying to kill OTA television broadcasts. One potential solution the FCC has proposed is to have television stations combine their content onto a single channel, thus freeing up the unused channel to be auctioned for profit by the network. I can only suspect that they would accomplish that by sharing one network’s allotted bandwidth between two networks. This of course would mean that the content would need to be compressed even more than it might already be to fit twice as many channels as there once where.

Before everyone begins to scream from their rooftop-mounted antennas that over the air television is being taken away by the government we should probably wait to see if the networks are even willing to participate in these auctions. As always, if you’re unhappy about the direction of the FCC, please voice your concerns with them. We’ll keep a close on the situation here at the DMZ.

Sources: FCC to Auction TV Spectrum FCC Chair Goes to Bat for Spectrum Auctions TV airwaves needed to counter wireless crunch: FCC