July 18, 2019

Coalition: No Shared Channels, No Second Auction, but Collaborative Use

Coalition: No Shared Channels, No Second Auction, but Collaborative Use

In published reports, a spokesman for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) suggests that the FCC should require any broadcaster who does not give up spectrum for auction to share channels. Furthermore, the spokesman said the FCC should be given the flexibility to decide whether or not to hold a second incentive auction because the first one was “botched.” Those were among the recommendations in a report by Richard Bennett, Senior Research Fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

Bennett laid into broadcasters, saying it was a dying technology and that with only 30 million people watching over-the-air, so the existing spectrum could be greatly consolidated to a tenth of the current bandwidth.

The Coalition for Free TV and Broadband reacted sharply to the assertions that television is a dying technology. Chairman Irwin Podhajser says, “First of all, the assumption by Richard Bennett and the ITIF that broadcasting is a dying technology is absurd, especially since just a few years ago they were singing the praises of the digital television transition.  Additionally, if Mr. Bennett and the ITIF were serious about the importance of immediate availability of wireless broadband and competition in the industry, they would be fighting to allow the current holders of this spectrum (broadcasters) collaborative use so they could offer wireless broadband internet to their communities.  Maybe the ITIF is not concerned with the end consumers of broadband, but further enriching its board members.”

Coalition Board Member, Jim West, President of LegacyTV, strongly disagrees with the figure of 30 Million households watching over-the-air television. “When one considers multiple television sets in many households, some not connected to cable or satellite, the number of households using over-the-air TV is far greater. And, if we consider the future of mobile television, then free over-the-air is primed for a new renaissance.” says West.

Perhaps there is one point of agreement. The ITIF calls for another transition, perhaps migrating to MPEG-4. The Coalition is all for flex use, whether through ATSC, OFDM, MPEG-4 or other emerging technologies.

As far as multiple auctions, the Coalition favors no auctions at all, but if necessary, only one and inclusive of all broadcasters, including Class “A”, LPTV and Translators.

ABOUT The Coalition for Free TV and Broadband –

Among the beliefs of the Coalition are the following:

  • We believe that the Federal Government should not take spectrum away from free television broadcasters and give it to a few wireless monopolies.
  • We believe that if the spectrum is lost, hundreds of television stations that provide free, local, minority, and faith-based programs could go off the air.
  • We believe that if the spectrum is auctioned, all Class A, LPTV stations, and translators must be included.
  • We believe that television broadcasters have solutions that will allow them to provide free or low cost wireless internet to their communities.
  • We believe, if allowed to fully utilize their bandwidth, television broadcasters will provide a necessary alternative to traditional wireless internet providers. This competition will be good for the consumer.

Coalition for Free TV and Broadband currently has over 200 members and organizations representing thousands of broadcasters, industry vendors and allied organizations. More information is available at www.FreeTVandBroadband.org