FCC Approves Reclaim of Broadcast Airwaves
The government approved the creation of high speed wireless networks for future smartphones, tablets, and like devices that have yet to be designed. The members that make up the Federal Communications Commission held a unanimous vote to allow the reclaim of public airwaves that are currently used for broadcast TV and put them up for auction. The sale off will be used for wireless broadband networks for the future with part of the proceeds from sales being paid back to the broadcast entities.
Wondering what would prompt the government, for the first time ever, to pay to buy back public airwaves for the purpose of selling them to satisfy the need and demand for wireless internet capacity, which is running low? The commission has estimated that internet traffic will increase more than 30 fold by the year 2015, declaring that without additional airwaves to accommodate that traffic, consumers will have to deal with more dropped calls, slower downloads and connection issues.
The FCC will issue a set of guidelines by which the auctions will be conducted, one of which will be that the upfront sales will be voluntary in exchange for a portion of the proceeds from the resale auctions. The program details will soon be released for the space race of the 21st century which will bring on innovation and technology for it. While the auctions won’t take place until 2014, estimates on the proceeds say it could generate 15 billion in proceeds with 7 billion of that being used to build a nationwide emergency communications network, a recommendation by the 9/11 Commission that has not been done.
Telecommunications experts as well as internet and wireless companies are praising the move, but some television broadcasters are not jumping for joy and many say they are not interested in giving up their airwaves. Several years ago a similar program took place where broadcasters gave up large amounts of airwaves without any compensation and officials say that many of those airwaves have yet to be used.
Concerns from broadcast leaders fear that the auction may have misconstrued the idea that broadcasting is a declining industry which is not the case. CBS has made it clear that they are not interested in giving up their broadcast spectrum. However, sources and the FCC believe that there are plenty of smaller broadcasters with single stations in urban areas that might just be willing to give up their low profit margin market share for compensation.
There’s a host of details to work out, but the FCC plans to review its mobile spectrum ownership policies and decide whether it needs to revise policies on how much any one wireless telecommunications company can hold in a single geographic area. That amount is currently set to one third of and area’s available airwaves, and the giant companies want that number to increase while smaller wireless companies have expressed their desires to keep them the way they are.