Are broadcast networks like CBS, NBC and Fox going to go cable-only?

To keep up with the significant growth in the need for wireless data at high speeds, the FCC is asking broadcast stations to trade airwaves for cash. This is part of FCC's incentive auctions and have been in development for some time, even before a company called Aereo hit the scene.

The idea with this recent announcement is that unused or underused licenses can be put into the incentive auctions and it is estimated that this could result in billions of dollars for the networks.

What is Aereo?

Aereo uses an array of dime-sized antennas that pulls in over-the-air TV signals and makes them available for streaming over the Internet for a monthly fee to subscribers. Aereo has so far been able to sidestep paying any costs to broadcast networks for making their streams available to consumers over the Internet. This has irked many networks including Fox and CBS, and has so far been judged as a legitimate business in courts. Some networks have even threatened to move to the cable TV model which would leave Aereo without the source content that it currently pulls over the air.

Are Broadcast Networks really considering a move from over-the-air to cable-only?

In a recent report it was estimated that 17.8 percent of Amercian households still rely on the digital equivalent to the ol' bunny ears to get their TV signals. Having access to "free" television for so long, people have grown accustom to it and tend to expect it. And many folks rely on TV for more than just entertainment.

"Because I'm sure aunt Susie and uncle Bill will love it when they can [no] longer get the warnings over their TV before a tornado hits their home in rural Oklahoma," a commenter stated sarcastically.

Some analysts suggest that this move will never happen, that it is just a ploy to eliminate Aereo. Perhaps they are forgetting that the idea has been in place for years. Plus, the rules are to be set later this year with the possibility of the first auction happening some time next year.
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