Congress: TV stations to give up more spectrum

The New York Times leads this morning with the plan passed out of a committee in Congress that will pay for a extension of the payroll tax cut, additional unemployment benefits, and maintaining higher Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors by selling off more of the public airwaves, mostly spectrum from TV stations. That spectrum will be sold to broadband carriers like AT&T and Verizon to expand the network, which due to smartphones and tablets is being taxed to a large degree in the US’s biggest cites.

In addition, money will be invested in a nationwide communications network for emergency responders, who have been clamoring for a more robust and compatible system since the 9/11 attacks.

Broadcasters will get compensated for releasing licensed spectrum, to the tune of $1.75 billion, with other protective provisions that prompted the NAB’s President & CEO Gordon Smith to say:

NAB salutes the tireless efforts of Congress to ensure that local broadcasters have a vibrant and robust future. Special thanks go to Chairmen Upton and Walden for steering this bill to conclusion, and to Reps. Dingell and Bilbray for a critically important amendment guaranteeing continued viewer access to TV station signals along the Canadian and Mexican borders.

Tens of millions of Americans rely every day on local TV broadcasters for news, entertainment, sports and life-saving weather warnings. We look forward to working with Congress and the FCC to implement an incentive auction program that does not jeopardize that service.

Smith is referring to a provision that requires the FCC to frequency coordinate with their Canadian and Mexican counterparts before putting packing stations in markets like Erie along the northern or southern borders.

FCC Chair Julius Genachowski has been pushing for this move for two years, citing what the paper says “he called inefficiently used airwaves from broadcasters.”

3 Responses to Congress: TV stations to give up more spectrum

  1. Spawn says:

    Only weeks before the Pennsylvania primary, with candidate information at a premium, don’t miss Pat Howard’s column of March 4, 2012.

    He got a new dog to replace Boo, the beloved dog of as many stories as Millcreek = La La Land, a great way to offend half your readers for decades. But it works for promotions at ETN.

    The new dog is 100 pounds and jumped on Trish.
    Managing Editor writing at its best

  2. PR says:

    Erie doesn’t have a newspaper. Its got a old rag for wrapping fish.

  3. M.C. Fox says:

    I have trouble with the concept of government selling “public airwaves”. The electromagnetic spectrum really belongs to everyone. The government took it upon itself to steal spectrum, sell it back to the elite and dictate its use. All by way of an unelected bureaucracy the FCC. For our own good, of course.
    “NAB salutes the tireless efforts of Congress to ensure that local broadcasters have a vibrant and robust future.” How does selling off TV spectrum do that? Government mandated digital TV has alienated half of Erie County. I assisted with the help line at the Erie Red Cross during the digital switchover. What a disaster. High powered border broadcasting licensing has always been political. The NAB quote sounds alot like tongues polishing FCC boots.

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