Originally Posted by dkreichen1968
What I'd love to see from the other side is a well reasoned defense of their side. All I hear is that free television is a waste of bandwidth based on the decline in analog viewership over the past 20 years. That isn't a well reasoned defense of your side. If you would like to contribute to this discussion please tell us.
First of all, I just want to say that I'm not officially "on the other side." I'm just a schlub with my own opinions, and I think it's helpful to air out as many viewpoints as possible. In my experience to date, this thread seems an awful lot like a pep rally for the TV industry. Several posters have made it clear they're only here for the propaganda benefits, and because of the narrow range of opinion expressed, it seems like a pretty one-sided discussion since about page 2.
So, I'm giving this another shot and strapping on the asbestos vest. I'm not able to address all the questions posed above, but I'm game for taking a shot at those I can.Why is the bandwidth needed?
Because the telephone, in its mobile form, has been and continues to morph from a speech tool to a do-it-all on-the-go information appliance. This trend has been bubbling under the surface for 10 years, but it really took off with the iPhone and the rivals that Apple inspired. Where mobile data was a sideshow up until 2005 or so, it is now becoming the main event. That trend is only going to grow stronger with the advent of other types of mobile devices, such as the Kindle and the iPad. No doubt lots of others will follow.
As a result, there are reams of estimates for strong growth in mobile data services demand, and you can Google if you really want to understand these developments better. But here's one link that will give you some perspective:http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/30/mob...-rise-40-fold/Will the bandwidth be used for anything more useful than Twittering and streaming porn movies on I-phones? (This is a genuine question)
You say this is a genuine question, but it sounds awfully snarky and dismissive, which is probably why you haven't received an answer previously. So, here's a snarky and dismissive initial reply: As a sincere defender of broadcast television, do you really want to go THERE?
If we're going to engage in a round of subjective judgments about content sent over the airwaves, the US television industry is not exactly in a position to be casting first stones. Should I start with something current like "The Bachelor" or go into the archives for "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour"? Or how about I just confine myself just to zoological-oriented excesses and misfires -- "BJ and the Bear" or "Manimal"? Or how about local news? ("Manimal gets the edge there.)
I could do this all day, but it's really meaningless and beside the point. Your question displays a dismissive attitude toward anything other than broadcast TV.
Let's just consider Twitter for a moment. I routinely receive useful international, national or local breaking news alerts via my Twitter account, as well as links to news and commentary about the industries, businesses and policies I'm interested in. A century ago, people depended on newspapers and its 24-hour (or longer) collection/distribution cycle for important "current" news. Then radio and TV shortened that cycle, and now Twitter shortens that cycle to the near real-time horizon.
And that's just one example of the potential value of Twitter -- it's a very malleable medium which means there will be lots of beneficial ways to make use of it. Twitter played a central role in the recent uprising in Iran against the government, and though that uprising failed, there's no question that Twitter and applications that will follow will be empowering for those in that sort of situation.
My point here is not to defend Twitter (or streaming porn). Mobile data is ultimately just the latest in a long line of emerging technologies that make possible new types of communication between and among people -- some of those uses will be universally beneficial, some may end up being regrettable, while most will be benign and fleeting.
The worst thing we can do is try to "central plan" this sort of thing based on the subjective/incomplete/negative value assessments of bureaucrat types. Your question implies that the content of broadcast television is superior to the content of mobile data. Maybe that's true for you, but you are just one person. Like it or not, the market has more collective knowledge than you do, and therefore it's in a better position to value these things than you can.
Or me.If it really is needed, why can't it come from other sources including above 3.7 GHz?
Sorry, I can't answer that one. I'm also interested in hearing about all the potential options, along with their pros and cons.How will reallocation help the average joe? How will reallocation benefit the poor? How will reallocation help improve access to broadband? How will reallocation help decrease the cost of broadband?
In essence, these questions are all ultimately a variation on the same question. If the projections are correct and we're facing an eventual mobile data bandwidth crunch, with insufficient supply to satisfy overall demand, that means that mobile data access prices will rise over time instead of fall, access will be constrained on the basis of income and a large number of people will be locked out of potentially valuable information and services.
And that sort of development would have serious knock-on effects, as a smaller audience for potential mobile data services would result in a stifling of innovation and business formation, which in turn would lead to slower economic growth, limited employment opportunities, and less overall upward mobility for society at large.
That may sound overly dramatic, but imagine how different the economic landscape of this country would look today if the personal computer revolution had not occurred on the scale that it has due to avoidable limits on the resources needed to grow that industry and associated businesses over the last 30 years. Many analysts believe that the mobile data market has similar revolutionary potential, and the most important thing is that it not be unduly obstructed in either delivering on that potential or proving that there are better uses for the resources it requires -- capital, intellect, spectrum, etc.
While I'm always suspicious of government actions (they're always more about good politics than good policy), I think the FCC probably has the big picture correct here.
Mobile data needs are growing fast and that growth is expected to accelerate. Broadcast television is occupying a large and central chunk of finite telecom spectrum, while at the same time its audience is shrinking and those who view it receive it through indirect, rather than over-the-air, means. I'll even stipulate that there appears to a very fledgling trend back toward OTA access, but it is no more than a drop in very big bucket and there's no persuasive data to show that trend growing at anything like the same rate as the gold rush toward mobile data.
So, I think it is, in a macro sense, a good thing that the FCC is proactively doing what they can to ensure that mobile data innovation does not run up against a brick wall of constricted bandwidth. My concern would be that because these decisions are political and hold significant scope for corruption, that there's no guarantee the right decisions will be made. This is one of the reasons I would prefer that ALL spectrum allocation be done by an open public auction, and that everyone who makes use of this type of public, commercially leveraged spectrum should pay according to what the market will bear. Yeah, that's not a perfect solution either, but I'd much rather go that route than what will likely end up being bureaucratic fiat.
One other thing. The US government did a lot to encourage the development of the broadcast television industry in this country in the early part of the last century. It did that by helping to shepherd standards and then provided essentially free access to the communication spectrum needed to make that technology come alive. Granted, it was a lot easier to provide that spectrum access then, as there were relatively few competing demands for it -- I Googled for evidence that telegraph operators were squeezed out of the market by NBC, but came up empty
. And there really was no established market value for the spectrum that TV ended up occupying.
The mobile data market is obviously birthing in a very different technological and competitive environment, but the role and intent of the FCC is not really all that different than it was during the birth of television. Yeah, it may now be more politically charged than it was back in the 1930s and 1940s. And that's why I'd consider anything that can reasonable limit arbitrary government factor likely to come into play here and in similar situations.