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Other Publications Chime in  on Recent Topics Other Publications Chime in  on Recent Topics Other Publications Chime in on Recent Topics

This week, two other, larger publications have discussed recent topics you read about in SpectrumTalk .  (Oddly, Broadcasting & Cable remains silent on the 12/2/09 FCC Public Notice on use of broadcast spectrum.)

The Wall Street Journal had an oped yesterday entitled "The Rabbit-Ear Wars" by Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.  It begins,
"You stupidly built a drive-in theater in the desert just as your customers were all deciding to stay home and watch HBO. Fortunately, the theater turns out to be sitting on a mountain of oil.

With a few asterisks, such is the situation of old-style TV broadcasters, whose viewers have fled to cable or satellite but whose spectrum is lusted after by the wireless industry. According to a much-noted study sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association, in the hands of the broadcasters, that spectrum is worth a mere $12 billion. In the hands of mobile phone carriers struggling to meet explosive growth for mobile broadband, it would be worth $62 billion."
Jenkins describes the basic situation, but goes on to say,
"But the FCC is in no position to know whether mobile broadband is that higher and better use. A reason is the regulatory straitjacket, including ownership limits, that for decades has prevented license holders themselves from exploring new broadcast business models."
At the expense of sounding like a schill for for FCC's Evan Kwerel, let me remind reads that Evan wrote about this with John Williams in 2002's OPP Working Paper 38.  They proposed

"to facilitate the rapid transition from administrative allocation of spectrum to market allocation, this paper proposes that the FCC (1) reallocate restricted spectrum to flexible use; (2) conduct large-scale, two-sided auctions of spectrum voluntarily offered by incumbents together with any unassigned spectrum held by the FCC, and (3) provide incumbents with incentives to participate in such “band restructuring” auctions by immediately granting participants flexibility and allowing them to keep the proceeds from the sale of their spectrum."
In other words a real deregulatory approach in which NAB and MSTV members could decide for themselves what the highest use of their spectrum is and how to maximum the value of their spectrum resource.

Next, the somewhat more obscure CED magazine, "The Premier Magazine of Broadband Technology", published an article by FCC alum Jeff Krauss entitled "Jamming Cell Phone Signals".  Jeff does a balanced job explaining the pros and cons of the prison cell phone jamming issue and the pending legislation and petition at FCC. He ends with this observation,
"So here we are again. The FCC hates to make a decision when there are opponents with strong views and strong arguments. And whenever an entity with strong lobbying ties to the FCC exerts pressure, the FCC takes the path of least resistance: delay."

UPDATE 12/11/09

Having got its marching orders from NAB, Broadcasting & Cable is now talking about the spectrum proposal:
NAB: Use Airwaves To Fight Potential Spectrum Grab 
"According to a copy obtained by B&C of the e-mail from Smith and the chairs of the Spectrum Commitee and TV board, NAB has produced a 30-second TV spot to "help position the spectrum issue in a pro-broadcaster, pro-consumer light" as a response to TV spots by wireless and telco groups "attempting to position a national broadband plan as having no potential drawbacks." "

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