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.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like another way of screwing over the consumer and broadcasters. We lost the upper UHF band in 2009 and now it sounds like they want to take more. Why would the government mandate stations to go digital, which must have cost a lot, and then 2 years later want to do away with it.

The problem with cellular and broadband networks is they require bandwidth for each user. During an emergency they become overloaded and fail. Local TV and radio can reach an infinite amount of people using the same bandwidth.

W said...

I don't understand why Watertown would necessarily lose more than WPBS on channel 41, unless 7 and 21 would be sacrificed to nearby markets.

Or is the idea that Canada would also contract the UHF TV spectrum, and then you would have to share the newly limited space with the five Kingston market signals?

Jim Corbin said...

Due to International coordination with Canada and the potential interference impact on other stations in the States...along with the reduced number of overall channels suggests that some markets won't have available channels to broadcast on...So yes WPBS loses out because its outside the new band. WWNY 7,WWTI 50 (21), and WNYF 28 (35 & 18) lose out to other markets. WNYF might also lose out because its considered a secondary service.