The National Association of Broadcasters drew heavy fire
from the wireless industry Tuesday after submitting a study to the FCC
concluding that there was a capacity, rather than spectrum shortage, and one
with lots of potential solutions that did not involve reclaiming more
spectrum from broadcasters.
After countering various points in the study, CTIA and the
Consumer Electronics Association in a joint response concluded: "The NAB
'study' ignores the most obvious and telling question -- if wireless providers
could solve their spectrum needs cheaply or don't have spectrum needs at all,
why would they want to pay billions of dollars for such an unnecessary asset?
Anyone who has studied not only projections, but also actual use of mobile
networks knows that our wireless networks desperately need more capacity -
wireless companies are seeking more spectrum for their networks because their
customers demand it."
"While NAB might
choose to ignore the realities of today's consumer demands, American wireless
consumers are staring down a spectrum shortage," said Mobile Future
chairman Jonathan Spalter. "As the FCC, 112 leading economists and
wireless technology experts have all explained in great detail, a spectrum
crunch is looming and the most efficient way to meet growing consumer demand
and deliver cutting-edge, innovative services to consumers is to move forward
with incentive auctions to get more wireless spectrum to the marketplace as
soon as possible."
Wireless Communications Association International President
Fred Campbell joined the chorus: "The latest spectrum paper by Onyeije Consulting submitted by broadcasters to the FCC proposes alternatives to incentive auctions but doesn't provide any technical or economic analysis demonstrating that these alternatives would actually work," he said in a statement. "The paper also ignores the fact that the best alternative to solve the spectrum crisis is to make more spectrum available, and broadcasters are sitting on an enormous amount of the best spectrum for mobile broadband."
Broadcasters have said they are willing to participate in a
voluntary spectrum reclamation-auction process, but disagree with the FCC over
whether being required to move to a new channel if they choose not to
participate in the auction invalidates the voluntary claim. They have more
recently been arguing that wireless companies area sitting on spectrum for
speculative purposes and that the FCC's failure to conduct a spectrum use study
must be corrected before any conclusions are drawn about who should give up