Right before the holidays last month, CTIA submitted two significant filings with the FCC on the use of broadcast television spectrum. One of the filings, which we’ll have a post about tomorrow, was in response to the FCC’s National Broadband Plan Public Notice #26 on alternative uses for broadcast TV spectrum.
The second filing was a joint white paper that we submitted to the FCC with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). In this paper, we suggest taking the TV broadcaster spectrum that is suited for mobile broadband and holding an auction. Then move the broadcasters into other spectrum which would make them more efficient users while upgrading their technology. At the same time, these upgrades would not, in any way, impact consumers.
The U.S. wireless industry is the most efficient users in the world of their spectrum, but we are facing an enormous surge of more mobile broadband users. Plus, wireless technology is increasingly key for other industries whether it’s mHealth, telework, smart grids/energy, etc.
With this brewing spectrum “crisis,” we need to get moving now.
Specifically, CEA and CTIA requested that the FCC explore and develop a plan that would:
- Protect consumers’ ability to enjoy over-the-air television including broadcast high-definition TV without disturbing consumer television sets.
- Preserve television licensees’ ability to continue to have the full use of 6 MHz of spectrum and the associated 19.4 Mbps data stream.
- Ensure broadcasters would not pay the costs for their transition to new spectrum.
- Free up sufficient spectrum, in large contiguous blocks, to justify the any transitional disruptions.
We recognize that there are many challenges and complexities involved in this process. But, CEA and CTIA believe this proposal offers a feasible way to meet over-the-air television broadcasters’ needs while recapturing significant amounts of spectrum for mobile broadband to enable next-generation wireless services. In other words, it’s a proposal that would ensure the ‘virtuous cycle’ of innovation and competition that U.S. consumers know and enjoy will continue to thrive.