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Bidding At FCC TV Spectrum Auction May Be Restricted For Large Carriers 91

Posted by samzenpus
from the helping-the-little-guy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Rumors have surfaced that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will restrict bidding at their TV spectrum auction in 2015 to effectively favor smaller carriers. Specifically, when 'auction bidding hits an as-of-yet unknown threshold in a given market, the FCC would set aside up to 30MHz of spectrum in that market. Companies that hold at least one-third of the low-band spectrum in that market then wouldn't be allowed to bid on the 30MHz of spectrum that has been set aside.' Therefore, 'in all band plans less than 70MHz, restricted bidders—specifically AT&T and Verizon (and in a small number of markets, potentially US Cellular or CSpire)—would be limited to bidding for only three blocks.' The rumors may be true since AT&T on Wednesday threatened to not participate in the auction at all as a protest against what it sees as unfair treatment."
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Bidding At FCC TV Spectrum Auction May Be Restricted For Large Carriers

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  • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:09AM (#46777391) Journal

    You're quite wrong about broadcast television. With the switch to digital, it has gotten vastly more useful and practical.

    Now, putting-up an antenna is the best picture quality you can get. Most stations have 2+ subchannels, so instead of 7 channels, you get 21+, and hence a proliferation of minor networks... "AntennaTV" "THIS" "MeTV" and more come to mind. And they have a far greater signal-to-noise ratio than cable channels, due to limited space and the demands of a massive broadcast audience. In some secondary (ie. old UHF-only) markets, major networks were entirely missing, due to limited space, but are now able to be carried as sub-channels on competitor's broadcast towers.

    OTA broadcast viewership is increasing, mainly with young households opting for an antenna rather than cable/satellite, ssince those have lost their technical edge, and the price is hard to justify. And OTA is critical for TV-related companies... Those TV-tuners for computers wouldn't have a. big enough market without it, and no reason to exist. DVR companies also probably wouldn't be able to make it without the OTA crowd. Startups like Aereo would be gone, with no possibly legal source of content.

    And tell me this... Where can you find daily national/world news with the same quality as the approx. 4am newscasts on CBS/NBC/ABC? BBC World Service looks like crap by comparison, though easily better than CNN/MSNBC/FauxNews of course. How about educational content like the broadcast networks are required to air for children? We absolutely do get a hell of a lot from broadcast OTA TV.

  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:55AM (#46777701) Homepage Journal

    Saying "Those with money can run amok" is also picking favorites. This is about trying to get some fair criteria in for ensuring a large group of telecommunications companies will have enough spectrum, a publicly managed and limited resource.

    I'm not always a fan of the way the FCC does things. The insanity of making spectrum geographic, for example, simply because that would maximize revenues when auctioning them, cost the US a decade or more of high prices and abysmal service. But this rule seems entirely reasonable.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley