Copps: A Whole Lot of Spectrum Lying Fallow
Concerned about auction repacking on smaller, diverse commercial stations and noncoms
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/20/2012 12:13:51 PM
"There is a lot of spectrum out there, and I don't think anybody in the United States has very much of a clue exactly how much spectrum is lying fallow," he said in an interview for The Communicators series on C-SPAN.
He was asked whether the FCC had been remiss in making sure spectrum was available.
"I'll bet you there is a whole bunch of [spectrum] lying fallow that could fuel a whole lot of devices and fuel a whole lot of technology," which he said was an argument for a complete spectrum inventory.
Copps said he hoped the commission would expedite incentive auctions, but he said he was not comfortable with taking spectrum from one consolidated medium (broadcasters) to give it to another (wireless). "That does not necessarily translate into automatic enhancement of the public interest," he said.
Copps said he was concerned about the impact of the auctions and TV station repacking on noncommercial and smaller, diverse, stations. "There are almost so many unintended consequences when you do something that is this broad," he said. "What's the impact going to be on public television?" he said. Noncoms are definitely concerned. Those stations were behind a push for several billion dollars in government money to commercial and noncom stations to cover relocation costs.
"Public television is doing a really good job with multicasting and using two or three streams to do really good programming. And all of a sudden, if they are going to be decreasing in number or stations are going to be thrown together, is that going to mean we are going to have less programming?"
The National Association of Broadcasters has argued that commercial broadcasters, too, are doing a lot with their multicasting channels, including serving niche diverse audiences.
Copps is concerned about broadcast diversity, too. He said he was worried about small stations in big markets -- some of those targeted by the FCC for spectrum reclamation. He said it was not necessarily a good thing that those stations, some struggling, would turn in their spectrum in exchange for a government payout.
That said, Copps said he hoped the auctions worked and that the FCC should move as quickly as possible.
No related content found.
Most Popular Pages
No Top Articles