Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Reclaimed TV Spectrum Update: The Threat To Local TV Continues

Reclaimed TV Spectrum Valued at $28 Billion in Obama Jobs Bill

President Obama’s proposed jobs bill assumes that incentive TV spectrum auctions will bring around $28 billion in proceeds. The American Jobs Act supports the National Broadband Plan. That plan calls for redesignating 40% of the spectrum now licensed to TV stations. The idea is that reallocated spectrum would support the development of a much needed public safety network and support the development of nationwide wireless broadband. The revenue from auctions could be used to reduce the deficit. The development of the public safety network and nationwide broadband would stimulate the economy and create jobs.

The problem is that to generate that amount, licensees of two satellite companies and dozens of TV stations would have to participate in the "voluntary auctions". The mechanics of redesignating 40% of spectrum remains a mystery because no broadcasters have indicated a willingness to sell off their spectrum...at values that could well be less than market value. The National Association of Broadcasters has said that allocating 40% of spectrum without voluntary participation would knock 210 full-power station off-air and force 672 to relocate to a different channel.

In that senerio...because of cross-border considerations and other technical inference standards, all stations in the Watertown market would be knocked off-air with no channel to relocate to. The Detroit market would also suffer a similar fate.