Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spectrum Spat Continues - Will the Real Squatter Please Stand Up?

  The TV spectrum take-back plan in the latest Obama "jobs" bill is on hold, as a result of the Senate declining to bring the bill to a vote.  In the meantime, the various players are expressing their opinions vociferously, and occasionally with strong language.
  In a recent editorial, the head of CTIA (a wireless operator trade group), accused LPTV (low power television) operators as being "squatters" on the spectrum.  Holding licenses from the FCC, LPTV operators clearly aren't squatters in the normal sense, although they could easily be described as second class citizens, as their licenses and channel assignments are conditional on not interfering with new or existing full power stations.
  The choice of the "squatter" label may be particularly problematic for the wireless group.  As several representatives from the Coalition for Free TV (a LPTV trade group) pointed out, several recent studies have alleged that wireless operators have plenty of spectrum, but are just not using it (for a variety of reasons).  Squatters would seem to be a better description for an industry that is sitting on unused spectrum while demanding more.
  LPTV operator Rod Payne spoke of his church-affiliated station -
"I am not a squatter. I am a public service-oriented broadcaster that uses the airwaves entrusted to our station to provide broadcast opportunities to greatly underserved groups of the American public. The fact that like many in this industry, I do not generate enormous revenue, but instead provide information, encouragement and dialogue that is being over-looked in a misguided attempt to generate a minuscule amount of revenue for this nation. Allow us and countless others in our industry, to use the spectrum that has been entrusted to us in new ways and we will provide much of the populace with communication avenues the wireless industry can only dream of."
Source - LPTV group tells CTIA to use mirror to see squatter,

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