"The traditional broadcast market at the local level
has probably had a tougher time of it than almost anybody in the
telecommunications industry in the last 10 or 15 years," says Rep. Joe
Barton (R-Texas), former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
In an interview for C-SPAN's Communicators series, Barton
would not speculate on how successful the FCC's spectrum reclamation auction
would be in terms of attracting broadcasters to give up spectrum.
"I think that is going to be a purely economic decision
on a case-by-case basis. Each local station decides whether it's better to keep
it and try to get value out of current of future uses or whether to let it go
and monetize that."
The FCC is currently circulating a draft framework for those
auctions and the repacking of stations that stay in the business. How well the
FCC protects the signal integrity and coverage of those broadcasters who decide
to stay in business will be a factor in determining who makes that decision.
Barton says he would give the Obama Administration an
"incomplete" grade on freeing up more spectrum for wireless
The former chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee
says the fact that they acknowledge that something needs to be done is a good
thing. He also conceded that it is hard to get spectrum back from people who
are using it, in either the public or private sector.