The broadcasting lobbyist says that Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro's opening speech accusing TV broadcasters of "squatting now on our broadband future" misses the mark. “He simply sees a world of wireless broadband, and that’s just not what the future holds,” Smith said. And the NAB chief also accused Shapiro of being out of touch: “He apparently was writing a book and missed the cord-cutting phenomenon."
NAB’s Smith Blasts Shapiro Over Spectrum
NAB President Gordon Smith fired back at Gary Shapiro after the CEA President used the opening session of the CES convention today to blast broadcasters for resisting efforts of the FCC to take back broadcast spectrum needed to fuel the growth of wireless broadband.
“They are squatting now on our broadband future,” Shapiro said before thousands in Las Vegas Hilton.
Following the speech, Smith said Shapiro is not giving broadcasting its due credit. “He simply sees a world of wireless broadband, and that’s just not what the future holds.”
According to Smith, the future includes broadcasting’s mobile DTV as a free, one-to-many complement to the wireless broadband.
“He [Shapiro] apparently was writing a book and missed the cord-cutting phenomenon,” he said, tweaking Shapiro for the relentless promotion of his just published The Comeback at the convention. The book, which argues for government policies that promote technological innovation, also attacks broadcasters for not handing over their spectrum for wireless broadband.
“Video on demand is wonderful,” Smith said. “We all enjoy that. We also like video live. But I want to watch the Super Bowl when it’s happening. There are many things that I want locally and free … that broadcasting still provides. “
Smith refused to consider the notion that broadcasters would somehow fail to deliver on their promise of delivering mobile DTV service this year. “You’re going to see a tremendous amount of rollout and we are excited to be a part of that. We are filling the spectrum that we were given. “
Smith suggested that the government and the wireless broadband proponents look elsewhere for spectrum. “Nobody has given back spectrum like we have, nearly a third in the digital transition. We already gave at the office.”
According to Smith, broadcasters’ problem is that Congress continues to see the recovery and auctioning of spectrum as a bank. “Spectrum was the pay-for of every member of Congress’s new spending idea. I suspect that it will be again.”
That will keep the pressure on broadcasters’ spectrum, most of which is ideal for wireless broadband use. The FCC has proposed that broadcasters who voluntarily return some or all of their spectrum to the government be given a share of the auction proceeds.
Smith said he has no objections to such so-called incentive auctions, but he cautioned broadcasters who are tempted to go for the deal: “Make sure the check clears, because between you and the money is something called the United States Congress.”