Broadcaster Bert Ellis: TV Tuner Chips Should Be Wireless Auction Quid Pro Quo

Would consider selling his stations' spectrum under right conditions

Veteran Broadcaster Bert Ellis
says the FCC should make putting TV tuner chips in handsets the price of entry
for wireless companies in an incentive spectrum auction, and for approval of
the combo of major wireless players AT&T and T-Mobile.

That came in a hearing Wednesday
in the House Communications Subcommittee on "Promoting Broadband, Jobs and
Economic Growth Through Commercial Spectrum Auctions," one of series of
hearings the subcommittee is holding on the FCC's proposal to reclaim broadcast
and other spectrum for wireless broadband.

Ellis, currently president of
Titan Broadcasting, says he may well sell some of the spectrum from some of his
stations under the right conditions.

Those conditions also include
making sure that the stations, his and others, that remain after an auction
retain the same coverage area, do not suffer increased interference, and do not
impact the ability to deliver new services, like mobile DTV (Ellis is on the
board of the Mobile 500 Alliance,
a consortium of stations promoting mobile DTV.

One big incentive for broadcasters
to participate in an auction, he said, would be to either persuade--using its
bully pulpit--or mandate wireless carriers and handset/tablet manufactures to
put TV tuners in their new devices. "This would help the broadcast
industry fast-launch mobile services," he says, which could become the
basis of a nationwide emergency alert network as well as a personal
entertainment service.

He asked the committee not to
relegate broadcasting to the technology "trash bin" or let wireless
forces foreclose their mobile future.

"We broadcasters are ready to
actively participate in the National Broadband Plan," he said. "Give
us some assets to further develop our business and we will repack and give up
some of our spectrum and work with the FCC and the wireless industry to make
the National Broadband Plan even more effective."