While conceding that broadcasters will probably be hurt if it goes ahead and takes away over-the-air spectrum for other uses, the FCC has released a technical report that suggests that broadcasters have to make way for newer wireless technologies that are emerging.
"Disruptive technology transformations happen every 10 to 15 years. Mobile broadband represents the convergence of the last two great disruptive technologies--Internet computing and mobile communications--and may be more transformative than either of these previous breakthroughs," the Commission's report stated.
To get spectrum to deliver the maximum services over these new technologies, the paper suggests that broadcasters should be stripped of some portion of their over-the-air spectrum and that a measure of compensation--perhaps free cable TV--could be used to assuage viewers who lose their over-the-air channels.
Julius Knapp, chief of the FCC Office of Engineering Technology (OET), applied some salve to the potential wound with his own white paper where he wrote that "the best ideas to repurpose TV broadcast spectrum are yet to be developed or put forward."
There is another alternative already being tossed into the ring. Tim Doyle of SNL Kagan has asked the FCC to look into SpectrumCo, the cable joint venture of Time Warner Cable, Cox, Bright House and Comcast that holds 137 still dormant spectrum licenses.
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