Little Off-Air TV Protection Offered in American Jobs Act

dkreichen1968

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Staff member
#1
From The Article:
Unlike HR 2482, there's no provision within the Jobs Act to protect a TV station's coverage area or to protect it from interference.

What happens if the incumbent licensee doesn't want change channels?

The wording "any alternative frequency or location that the Commission may designate" seems very broad to me. If they want your New York City spectrum, can they move your station to Montana?

If this is truly voluntary, it's unlikely that stations operating on UHF channels would want to move to a VHF allocation, but stations on the higher UHF channels would likely be open to moving to another UHF channel with costs covered by the NTIA fund mentioned earlier. Will the amount the FCC pays the licensee depend on the undesirability of the location or frequency it would have to move to? What happens if there aren't enough channels for the broadcasters that don't want to change location or move to a less desirable channel?

The Jobs Act exempts broadcasters from spectrum fees, so it appears that fees can't be used to persuade stations to "voluntarily" move off UHF channels.

It isn't clear whether Congress will pass the Act, and if it does, if there will be an opportunity to bring the legislation on Incentive Auctions more in line with HR 2482. The Jobs Act, as it stands, does little to remove the uncertainty over the future of of-air TV.

There is one indication that proponents of reallocating TV spectrum for wireless broadband are beginning to realize the National Broadband Plan recommendation to take 120 MHz of UHF TV spectrum isn't practical. The Act doesn't limit the amount of spectrum to be auctioned or limit it to UHF, but it did set a threshold at 84 MHz. After 84 MHz of broadcast TV spectrum is auctioned (and payments received), a portion of the funds from any additional TV spectrum auctions "may be disbursed to licensees of other frequency bands for the purpose of making additional spectrum available, provided that a majority of such additional spectrum is assigned via competitive bidding."

If 84 MHz of UHF TV spectrum is auctioned off, wireless services would start at TV Channel 38, with the Channel 37 spectrum reserved for medical devices and radio astronomy serving as a buffer between broadcast and wireless services. Broadcasters have to notify all nearby medical facilities before they can build a UHF TV station. I wonder if the wireless carriers that buy these frequencies will have to do this also?

Incentive spectrum auctions are only a small part of the Jobs Act, but it would be ironic if it passed as submitted and those people struggling to make ends meet lose access to free TV as a result.
Read More: Little Off-Air TV Protection Offered in American Jobs Act, by Doug Lung

It's interesting to see that even the "Great Obama" is starting to see that repurposing 120 MHz of TV spectrum is a bad idea, though setting the threshold at 84 MHz is troubling given that it is my belief that there are many areas where most of the current spectrum is mostly used (my location included). With that said, if there is going to be any auction of TV spectrum, "We The People" need specific protections from the corporate greedsters who are pushing the spectrum grab. We need protections for coverage areas of all full power, class A, low power, and translator stations so that we're not enslaved by the cable and satellite industries.
 
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MrPogi

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Staff member
#2
most of the current spectrum is mostly used (my location included).
Ditto. Except for some VHF and buffer frequencies, it's gone, mostly in use.

A rural area like mine has no reason to have 120 MHz of spectrum dedicated to wireless broadband. Yet they seem ready to take it asap so it can sit unused; like so many empty, decaying, abandoned boxcars.
 
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