Broadcaster suggests tradeoff: TV-enabled mobile phones for spectrum

Broadcasters are willing to participate in the FCC's national broadband plan--even if it means relinquishing some spectrum--but it would be nice to have a little incentive to do so, Bert Ellis, president of Titan Broadcasting said during an appearance before a House Communications Subcommittee yesterday.

In particular, Ellis would like to tie a requirement for TV tuner chips in mobile handsets to giving up spectrum for an incentive auction. And he'd even throw in support for AT&T's proposed merger with T-Mobile.

Broadcasters see mobile DTV as their next step in reaching wider ranging on-the-move audiences via mobile devices. The problem has been the reluctance of vendors to insert the necessary chips into the devices because, in the end, there's no demand or requirement from the mobile carriers.

"We broadcasters are ready to actively participate in the National Broadband Plan," Ellis said. "Give us some assets to further develop our business and we will repack and give up some of our spectrum and work with the FCC and the wireless industry."

The FCC, meanwhile, has further advanced its spectrum reclamation plans by freezing TV station requests to switch digital channel assignments to "permit the Commission to evaluate its reallocation and repacking proposals," it said.

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