Broadcasters, Consumer Electronics Association spar over spectrum

Just when it seemed like the Consumer Electronics Show would be all sweetness, light, connected TVs and pads, a spat broke out over who best can use broadcast spectrum the FCC has targeted for new wireless technologies.

Broadcasters are resisting returning any more spectrum to the government. "They are squatting now on our broadband future," said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association during a keynote address.

The remarks, of course, did not sit well with broadcasters. "Nobody has given back spectrum like we have, nearly a third in the digital transition," NAB President Gordon Smith told TVNewsCheck. "We already gave at the office."

Broadcasters would like to keep the spectrum as part of their own mobile digital TV play, as evidenced by ION Media Networks announcement that it would upgrade its station markets for just that purpose. As part of what company CEO Brandon Burgess described as "a comprehensive next generation broadcast offering for 21st century TV viewers," ION will have 10 markets Mobile DTV ready within the next two months, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Boston and Detroit.

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