Noncom Stations Pitch FCC on Value of Their Spectrum - Broadcasting & Cable

Noncom Stations Pitch FCC on Value of Their Spectrum

Commission targets stations to yield spectrum to wireless broadband
Author:
Publish date:

Lonna
Thompson, interim CEO and general counsel of the Association of Public
Television Stations, met with FCC officials Wednesday to remind them of the
value of leaving spectrum in the hands of the noncommercial stations she
represents.

Smaller
commercial and noncommercial stations in big markets are among those expected
to be targeted with an FCC offer to give up some or all of their broadcast
spectrum for wireless broadband in exchange for a payout when that spectrum is
re-auctioned.

She
called it a "touch base" meeting to remind the FCC of the value of
spectrum public broadcasters and the community. Also touching base was APTS
Board Chair Rod Bates of Nebraska Educational TV, who provided a first-hand
pitch on the value of his spectrum.

"The
message we gave the FCC is that we are all in favor of innovation,"
Thompson told B&C in an interview. She pointed out that public TV was
"the first to close caption, first to do descriptive video, first to do
HD, first to multicast, first to use satellite systems for distribution."
She said that they were "open to ideas" and dialog about maximizing
the use of the spectrum, but not at the expense of the service her stations
provide including to those who would not immediately benefit from the broadband
revolution. "[M]erely saying 'let's transition them all to broadband'
isn't the answer because many of the audiences we serve don't have access to
broadband," she said. "That may make it a chicken and egg situation,
which it is, because they want to deploy broadband, but in the meantime we have
to keep in mind that these essential public television services are needed by
the public."

Congress,
for one, thinks enough of the value of noncommercial HD service to make
satellite carriage of those signals on an advanced timetable part of its
recently passed satellite license reauthorization bill. Delivering HD, which
requires more bandwidth than standard definition, is one of the reasons
broadcasters argue it would be tough to give up spectrum.

Related