The wireless telephone industry trade group tells the FCC that since most U.S. homes get their television from cable or satellite services, the commission should reallocate over-the-air television spectrum “to services better able to serve the needs of U.S. consumers.”
CTIA, the principal lobby of the wireless telephone industry, is backing the idea of taking back broadcasting spectrum and making it available for wireless broadband access.
The FCC should consider “reallocating this valuable spectrum to services better able to serve the needs of U.S. consumers,” the wireless operators said in the FCC inquiry into making broadband access less expensive and more widely available.
The comments are another indicator of the growing interest in broadcast spectrum.
In a plan floated by FCC broadband czar Blair Levin earlier this month, the agency promised broadcasters some share of the proceeds that would come from auctioning the broadcast spectrum to wireless operators.
Broadcasters would also be able to retain some spectrum so that they could continue broadcasting a standard-definition-only service for the millions of consumers who still rely solely on over-the-air TV.
So far, however, broadcasters are rejecting the plan.
Although CTIA doesn’t specifically cite the Levin plan, it makes clear its support for reallocation of the broadcast spectrum.
The broadcasters now occupy a “large band” (470-698 MHz) and make “highly inefficient” use of it, it said. “This spectrum … was recently described by the commission as ‘beach front property’ for mobile broadband services and it is uniquely suited to the provision of mobile services.
“Broadcast television, by contrast, is almost completely provided to U.S. consumer through wired technologies,” it said.
“If the public interest in providing over-the-air television to the fraction of U.S. households without cable or satellite television has not already been overtaken by technological changes, it is rapidly becoming so.”
The CTIA also urged the FCC to look immediately at reallocating unused TV channels at the upper end of the broadcast band.
“In geographic areas where ch. 51, for example, is unused, reallocated to licensed wireless broadband services will provide a needed and immediate infusion of spectrum to help meet growing consumer demand for wireless broadband services.”
CTIA declined a request of an interview, but issued a statement: “We’re pleased that the commission, as well as other organizations, are focusing on a potential spectrum reallocation of broadcast spectrum.”