FCC: Mobile DTV can work within National Broadband Plan

Broadcasters claim mobile digital TV is essential to their future and that attempts by the FCC to "reclaim" more broadcast spectrum as part of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) will doom the opportunity and mortally wound the industry. The FCC, according to Chairman Julius Genachowski, believes otherwise and said so in a speech to the broadcasters at NAB.

The FCC is looking for ways to pay for the spectrum--thought to be around 120 MHz--that it would use as part of the wireless portion of the NBP. Broadcasters, meanwhile, maintain that giving up any more spectrum would cripple their over-the-air service and make them dependent on cable, satellite and telco providers for carriage. Those service providers don't necessarily want to pick up more broadband signals and add them to already cramped bandwidth--and they certainly don't want to pay any more retransmission fees to get those signals.

Meanwhile, in other cable-related FCC matters, the globe-trotting Genachowski told a Congressional panel that a federal appeals ruling that favored Comcast's ability to control bandwidth consumption and slapped the FCC on the wrist for trying to usurp that control, won't impact the NBP. Genachowski didn't say how the Commission would go forward--including ducking questions about regulating the Internet. "I have instructed our lawyers to take the recent decision seriously and evaluate what our options are," he said.

Finally, a story in Multichannel News says that NCTA boss Kyle McSlarrow will be among those testifying at a Congressional subcommittee hearing on set-top boxes that intends to look at the FCC's plan to create a retail market for set-tops and break up the cable set-top "duopoly."

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