FCC vs. Innovation
It's crazy to exclude TV broadcasters from the world of mobile broadband.
By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR
Are TV broadcasters the enemy of digital progress? Is the solution to put over-the-air broadcasting out of its misery? Demand for the mobile Web is growing like crazy, but much of America's wireless spectrum is tied up to deliver TV to a shrinking audience of rabbit-ear viewers.
That gives the Federal Communications Commission an idea: Hold an auction and let broadcasters share in the proceeds of any spectrum they're willing to give up so the agency can resell it to wireless providers. Yes, Congress would have to authorize it. Yes, it would provoke a battle royale, as happens when billions of dollars are politically up for grabs. Yes, it might take a decade to pull off. But it would ensure that the nation eventually has all the mobile bandwidth it needs.
Not helping the climate of trust were comments last year by Reed Hundt, who served as FCC chief in the Clinton administration and is a mentor of Mr. Genachowski's. Mr. Hundt told a Columbia University audience that the agency's long-term plan indeed is to kill broadcast in favor of broadband.
Not so wise is the agency gazing into a technological crystal ball and trying to force innovation to conform to its procrustean vision. Mr. Genachowski never tires of saying his spectrum reshuffle will be "voluntary," but the word means little if broadcasters are bound by antique regulations that doom them to obsolescence and scare away capital to remake their business model for the digital era. As this column has noted ad nauseam, broadcast is actually the solution to a broadband problem—how to deliver live TV, the kind lots of people want to watch simultaneously, efficiently to Internet devices. Ironically, just as the FCC seeks to extinguish one broadcast industry, Verizon is talking about creating a new one to help carry the video load on its new 4G mobile network.
Aren't Dems supposed to champion the working and middle-class.
This will do everything but.
I'm not an engineer, but I know much about business. And based on everything I know, the broadcast radiospectrum is, by far the most efficient way to broadcast content to a broad audience. It makes no sense to phase out OTA broadcasters and cede the spectrum to mobile carriers.
Let's allow OTA broadcasters to get into the mobile game instead.
Edited by Gloria_Chavez, 13 February 2011 - 06:53 PM.
more trenchant title; supporting paragraph