FCC Gives TV Channel-Sharing Green Light

By letting broadcasters share channels and not relinquish must-carry rights, the commission hopes to entice weak stations to double up (or even triple up) on channels, turn over spectrum to the FCC and participate in the voluntary "incentive" auction.

The FCC took its first step today toward shifting a large swatch of spectrum from TV broadcast to wireless broadband.

It unanimously approved rules allowing TV stations to share channels while retaining must-carry and other rights that come with owning a full channel.

It’s a decision the FCC hopes will entice weak stations to double up (or even triple up) on channels, turn over spectrum to the FCC and participate in a voluntary “incentive” auctions.

Under a law enacted earlier this year, stations who contribute spectrum to such an auction my share in the proceeds.

Through the auction, the commission has said it would like to recover up to 120 MHz or 40% of all TV spectrum.

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Most broadcasters are not interested in giving up spectrum and, although participation in the incentive auction is voluntary, they are concerned about collateral damage that may be caused when the FCC repacks the TV band to aggregate the returned spectrum for auction.


Repacking mostly involves switching channel assignments, but could also impact changes in power levels and tower locations. All such changes affect coverage to some degree.

The law addresses broadcasters’ concerns by mandating that the FCC must make all “reasonable” efforts not to degrade the coverage of the remaining stations.

However, many broadcasters still fear that there will be irreparable harm from the repacking.

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Comments (9)

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r small says:

April 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Great.I love MPEG artifacts

    Teri Green says:

    April 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Time to move from this DTV system to MP4. Time for another change. Look I don’t like it but we’re using technology from the 90s. Let’s change TV again only this time make sure future upgrades can be done with firmware

    Robert Crookham says:

    April 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Are you willing to pay for replacing every TV set and broadcast exciter in the country? No? Then it’s not such a great idea.

Joanne McDonald says:

April 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm

This would mean that all the multicast diginets on local stations subchannels and all the religious network as well as ION and other smaller minor network would wound up wanting all the cable and satellite operators to carry their nationals feeds without paying for the feeds. All the stations formerly on 7-13 in analog would have to move back to those channels in rare cases and all the stations formerly on 14-30 in analog would have to move back to those channels in rare cases. Univision and Telefutura would be 480 only on one channel. NBC with 1080 and Telemundo with 480 be on one channel. CBS with 1080and CW with 1080 would be on one channel. FOX with 720 and MYNET with 720 would be on one channel. There would be PBS stations in many areas to be forced to be on one channel and it be mainly in much larger cities and markets. All the stations could be willing to transmit all of their signals being transmitted to the viewers online for free without any copyright problems and restriction through all their computer systems in the future. No one needs to criticize on me on my own theories and about my ideas of what to do with the stations being affected with the spectrum auction that would happen.

    Robert Crookham says:

    April 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    No, I won’t criticize you on your ideas. Your poor grammar and indecipherable logic (or lack thereof) provide plenty to criticize.

Teri Green says:

April 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Simple solution is to make all DTV broadcasts just this DTV. High Def is nice but if you want it, then they should make the consumer pay for it. Outside of sports, nature films and “porn” there’s no need for it. Is Seinfeld any funnier in high def? Is the local or national news any better if you can see Larry Potash or David Muir’s pores? Of course not.

Making all TV SDTV and moving high def to cable is the way to go

r small says:

April 27, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Great solutions. Take all HD off broadcast, and obsolete every TV set that’s out there, again.

    Ellen Samrock says:

    April 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Right. Taking HD away from FOTA television is a giant step backward.

Dante Betteo says:

May 5, 2012 at 11:42 am

Leave well enough or not well enough alone!

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