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Texas TV broadcasters oppose spectrum give-back

A delegation of Texas broadcasters led by TAB met with FCC officials Nov. 12 in part to oppose nascent efforts by the leader of the FCC?s National Broadband Policy office to take back TV broadcasters? spectrum and redeploy it for mobile broadband services.

The meetings were followed up by comments filed with the FCC on Nov. 13.

?We made very clear that ? just five months since the analog shut-off ? Texas TV broadcasters intend to use our spectrum to create new opportunities that will benefit local communities,? said TAB Vice President Oscar Rodriguez.

?Over-the-air HDTV is here, multicast programming is growing and evolving quickly, mobile DTV is 18 months away, and more opportunities are on the horizon. Broadcasters and consumers did not invest billions of dollars in new technology just so the FCC could reclaim spectrum and force everyone onto pay-TV systems that do nothing for local communities,? he said.

In addition, TAB joined 44 other state broadcast associations in filing comments with the FCC on Nov. 13 urging them to ?quickly and firmly dispel any speculation? that it was considering disenfranchising millions of consumers (1.6 million households in Texas) who rely exclusively on free, over-the-air TV broadcasts.

The comments pointed out that those who argue that broadcasting uses spectrum inefficiently urge a preposterous definition of efficiency because people consume services, not bits, and not all bits have the same value.

?A single television stream sent over a wireless network to one viewer requires about the same number of bits as an identical stream sent over a broadcast signal, although the broadcast stream can be viewed by hundreds, thousands or millions of people,? TAB and its counterparts argued.

?For video services viewed by a large audience, broadcast delivery is vastly more efficient than any other wireless service.?

TAB is offering members a free Executive Briefing Webinar on Nov. 20 where MSTV?s David Donovan will discuss the spectrum take-back proposal. Scott Flick with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman also will walk stations through the FCC?s new ownership report due next month.

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