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post #181 of 2861 Old 04-17-2010, 01:06 AM
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Ian Paul, Mar 15, 2010 9:22 am

We'll get a preview of the future of Internet access proposed by the U.S. Federal Commmunications Commission, which will detail its National Broadband Plan Tuesday in an open meeting before formally presenting the plan to Congress on Wednesday.

The meeting is scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time at the FCC's Washington, D.C. headquarters. But if you can't make it to Washington, you can watch it live online at www.fcc.gov/live .

Congress gave the FCC a mandate early last year to develop a broadband plan as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Its goal: to improve high-speed Internet access for millions of Americans.

Even though the plan is not yet public, key portions of what the FCC plans have come out in public speeches by FCC officials in recent weeks. Here's what we know so far:
What are the main points of the FCC's nationwide broadband plan?

The centerpiece of the FCC's plan is the "100 Squared Initiative:" a goal of implementing 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) broadband connections in 100 million American households by 2020. The U.S. has an estimated 114 million households today.

The FCC also wants to make 500MHz of wireless spectrum (over the air frequencies) available to mobile carriers. This will enable wireless companies to provide more data-intensive applications to mobile handsets. The move is recommended because the FCC because an impending wireless spectrum shortage could limit broadband and economic growth.

What are the benefits of faster broadband?

The FCC says faster broadband will allow innovation in the classroom, in health care and energy services; and promote public safety, Graphic: Diego Aguirredemocracy and small business opportunity. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski often promotes high-speed broadband, promoting such uses as remote doctor-patient counseling for rural communities, a smart energy grid that lets a home appliance regulate power consumption, new innovations in classroom learning including online tutoring and access to up-to-date e-textbooks.

Opportunities for businesses could be equally promising. Faster broadband can serve as a platform for new Web-based applications and services delivered from large corporations, small businesses, and startups working out of a garage.

How will the FCC find another 500MHz of spectrum?

Some government agencies, like the Department of Defense, control large amounts of spectrum for their own purposes. These agencies are unlikely to release much of their airwaves, so the FCC wants to ask television stations across the country to give up their unused spectrum and make it available at auction for the wireless companies. The FCC and the television stations would then share the auction proceeds.
How much spectrum do TV stations have?

Television stations have about 300MHz worth of spectrum, but in some cases these stations use as little as 36Mhz, according to Genachowski. However, the television companies already gave up 100Mhz worth of spectrum after the switch to digital television in early 2009.

The NaIllustration: Jeffrey Pelotional Association of Broadcasters opposes giving up more spectrum, because the NAB believes further reallocation would hurt over-the-air programming.

"Any spectrum reallocation proposal that would leave consumers without access to broadcast services upon which they rely, and that would strand the very significant investments made by consumers, the government and broadcasters to transition to all-digital television broadcasting, is contrary to the public interest," the NAB said in a statement on spectrum management.

NAB members also want to use the spectrum they do have to expand offerings such as high-definition, multicast, and mobile digital television programming.
How much will the broadband plan cost?

The FCC is proposing that Congress allocate the Universal Service Fund (USF) to broadband deployment over a ten-year period. The USF was created to meet the goals of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which included nationwide universal access to telecommunications services. The USF spends about $4.6 billion a year to meet this goal.

The FCC also wants Congress to authorize $9 billion over three years to speed up broadband deployment. The agency also is expected to ask Congress to authorize another $12 to $16 billion for a nationwide broadband network for emergency services personnel. This would allow first responders to communicate with other agencies more quickly and effectively in the event of local or national crises.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has already set aside $7.2 billion for nationwide broadband deployment, and current estimates put the total cost of the FCC's nationwide broadband plan between $20 and $350 billion -- an enormous spread.
Are other countries doing this?

Yes, many countries are already way ahead of the United States in terms of broadband speeds and availability. South Korea, for example, boasts an average broadband speed of 43.3 Mbps, according to a 2008 report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). But, dissatisfied with those speeds, the South Koreans in February 2009 announced an ambitious goal to introduce 1 Gigabit-per-second broadband by 2013.

Other countries also boast impressive broadband speeds, according to the OECD. France, for example, averages speed of 43.3 Mbps and the Japanese enjoy speeds of 93.7 Mbps. The United States broadband speeds hover around 9 Mbps; however, keep in mind that broadband speeds in urban areas tend to be much higher.

What do you think? Are you for the FCC broadband plan or is this not the time to be undertaking such a major public works initiative?

Connect with Ian on Twitter (@ianpaul) or on Google Buzz.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/19152..._plan_faq.html
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post #182 of 2861 Old 04-17-2010, 08:52 AM
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What do you think? Are you for the FCC broadband plan or is this not the time to be undertaking such a major public works initiative?

I live in a rural area where broadband is not available. Ignoring issues like "I don't want to pay for what I get free now" or "Should the government even be involved in this," I don't want to see OTA significantly reduced or disappear altogether as the 4 Mbps "actual download speed" proposed for rural areas in the NBP cannot replace what I get from OTA now. This is just my personal situation.

To be fair, most people around here have satellite for TV and cannot receive OTA no matter what antenna they put up. Many areas have no cell phone coverage either. They would not notice if OTA vanished.

I have my doubts though that more spectrum for wireless will improve internet access here. There are just too many ridges to get over and too many valleys to get into. Broadband access for this area will have to be wired unless the number of wireless sites is increased dramatically.

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Other countries also boast impressive broadband speeds, according to the OECD. France, for example, averages speed of 43.3 Mbps and the Japanese enjoy speeds of 93.7 Mbps.

I've seen this sort of comparison made on many issues. It's not fair to compare the US with these relatively small mono culture countries. In this case the comparison should only be made with large US metropolitan areas.

On page 19 of the NBP there is a map of broadband access by county. I'm not doubting the percent of the population that has broadband by county, but the map is deceptive as it should be plotted by areas with broadband, not extrapolated to the entire county. My county shows 71-80% of the population has broadband but I'd be willing to bet that 90% of the land area doesn't. And that's what the NBP is all about, providing broadband to the entire land area. That's a much more daunting task than that map would lead one to believe.

Finally I think that our local broadcasters have fallen down on the job of providing OTA access to their entire service areas. Unlike some parts of the country, we have no DTS service and no translators which leaves large areas with spotty coverage. It seems to me that this doesn't help the cause of broadcasters to keep their spectrum.

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post #183 of 2861 Old 04-18-2010, 09:36 AM
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Very salient comments, Chuck -- particularly about your local broadcasters falling down on the job (I'm guessing you're not in one of the top markets, and therefore they don't have the money to put in as many translators, or just don't care as much), and especially your comment about the 71-80% of your county's population having broadband, but your educated guess that the reality is that translates into roughly 90% of your county's land mass with no broadband, as there are isolated homes here and there throughout the county...

Back in the 1930s a similar issue in rural communities -- especially with farms and people in the mountains, like you -- led to the Rural Electrification Act, which took until the 1970s to get electricity to every home in America. As every domestic customer pays the same rate (at least for the same RF ratings), people in urban areas and close to the power companies end up subsidizing those who live dozens -- or even hundreds of miles -- from power plants so that everyone can have electricity. That's part of America's "social contract."

The same is true with the postal service, which is a BIG part of its financial woes... Extreme rural deliveries pay the same as all the much lower-cost urban and suburban deliveries. The upshot of this is that rather than begin charging by the mile -- which would likely cause an uproar and riots -- the USPS is going to cancel Saturday deliveries for everyone.

The points you're making prove PRECISELY the argument I've been making since DAY ONE -- chiefly that any TRUE National Broadband Plan HAS TO BE WIRED to be either effective or real. In truly rural areas like where you live, wireless not only wastes coverage on huge areas that will never be used (and are also unuseable due to hills and valleys), it also fails to provide anything close to TRUE broadband speeds. Yes, it might provide something for some people in some urban and suburban areas, but this is a fallacious plan for rural areas. Wires will be both more efficient, provide more options as to speed, permanent and allow for upgrades. It may take longer and cost more on the FRONT END, but it will pay much bigger dividends in the long-run.

If broadband internet truly is coming to be seen by the FCC and Congress as some sort of national need and right, then access to it for every American in every nook and cranny of America needs to be done right, NOT half-assed!
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post #184 of 2861 Old 04-18-2010, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffAHayes View Post

Very salient comments, Chuck -- particularly about your local broadcasters falling down on the job (I'm guessing you're not in one of the top markets, and therefore they don't have the money to put in as many translators, or just don't care as much)

I believe he is in the Sacramento market (not a small market), but I agree, the number of new digital replacement translators being put up is very low.

If mobile DTV is expected to succeed, more sites will be needed. However, I am not confident that DTS will solve the lack of available channels problem.

At present, there doesn't seem to be much incentive for broadcasters to put up new towers for "non-paying" customers.
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post #185 of 2861 Old 04-18-2010, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Falcon_77 View Post

At present, there doesn't seem to be much incentive for broadcasters to put up new towers for "non-paying" customers.

It's kind of hard to blame them, really, with broadcast ratings declining pretty much regardless of whatever the broadcasters do due to the ever-increasing number of alternative choices. Why on Earth would companies spend Million$ of Dollar$ for new translator towers to reach a few isolated pockets of viewers in the boondocks when they'll likely never see a return on that investment (unless some sort of subscription mobile TV service emerges).

I'm not saying they shouldn't have a long time ago, when the towers were less expensive to build AND there was less competition and more profit incentive -- and also fewer other options for those rural customers (such as satellite). But some of those stations probably feel like they're between a rock and a hard place at this point, and I can't imagine how a struggling station could justify building new translators for fringe areas, unless some benevolent benefactor is helping pay for them.
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post #186 of 2861 Old 04-19-2010, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffAHayes View Post

.....
I'm not saying they shouldn't have a long time ago, when the towers were less expensive to build AND there was less competition and more profit incentive -- and also fewer other options for those rural customers (such as satellite). But some of those stations probably feel like they're between a rock and a hard place at this point, and I can't imagine how a struggling station could justify building new translators for fringe areas, unless some benevolent benefactor is helping pay for them.
Jeff

Many of the stations that are hard to receive digitally now, were on low-band VHF channels in their analog days. So, they never had a need for translators. Now, often being on UHF channels, they probably need the help of translators.

The "Broadband Plan" really ought to be an all-inclusive plan to get DIGITAL to everybody, not just internet. It should have some provisions for development of transmission sites that will include both "broadband" service and "broadcast" services. It makes no sense to concentrate on only one of those, while excluding the "greenest" of the systems, broadcast, which enables an almost unlimited number of users at once.

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post #187 of 2861 Old 04-19-2010, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Falcon_77 View Post

I believe he is in the Sacramento market (not a small market), but I agree, the number of new digital replacement translators being put up is very low.

Yes, I am in the Sacramento market.

As Ken mentioned, in the analog days all of the "important" stations (NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS) were on low or high VHF and had better penetration throughout the Sierra Nevada foothills where I am. Only FOX was UHF 40.

Not only that, but a lot of people could receive 2, 4, and 5 from the Bay Area and even 7 and 9 in some cases. Channel 2 is FOX so they had that network too.

A major problem up here is the pine trees. At higher elevations people didn't bother with UHF antennas since reception was effectively blocked. I would think wireless internet would have the same problem.

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post #188 of 2861 Old 04-19-2010, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffAHayes View Post

The points you're making prove PRECISELY the argument I've been making since DAY ONE -- chiefly that any TRUE National Broadband Plan HAS TO BE WIRED to be either effective or real. In truly rural areas like where you live, wireless not only wastes coverage on huge areas that will never be used (and are also unuseable due to hills and valleys), it also fails to provide anything close to TRUE broadband speeds. Yes, it might provide something for some people in some urban and suburban areas, but this is a fallacious plan for rural areas. Wires will be both more efficient, provide more options as to speed, permanent and allow for upgrades. It may take longer and cost more on the FRONT END, but it will pay much bigger dividends in the long-run.

If broadband internet truly is coming to be seen by the FCC and Congress as some sort of national need and right, then access to it for every American in every nook and cranny of America needs to be done right, NOT half-assed!
Jeff

My parents live in rural Nebraska. They have had fiber to the home access for years(including high speed internet and subscription TV), but have limited cell coverage. I don't know if their phone company (a small regional company) has made up their investment. I'm sure they planned on making it up on internet and TV. My parents don't use either (they are in their 70s). Given the small population, they wouldn't need as much bandwidth for wireless broadband as urban areas, they would just need a few more cell towers, but it would be a large investment per potential customer. They are also in one of those areas where very little TV broadcast spectrum is in use. Their receivable TV channels are RF 2, 6 & 9, (they can't get 6 in their location, but the neighbors can) with some low power UHF translaters in the Platte river valley.

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post #189 of 2861 Old 04-19-2010, 09:01 AM
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The "Broadband Plan" really ought to be an all-inclusive plan to get DIGITAL to everybody, not just internet. It should have some provisions for development of transmission sites that will include both "broadband" service and "broadcast" services. It makes no sense to concentrate on only one of those, while excluding the "greenest" of the systems, broadcast, which enables an almost unlimited number of users at once.

The FCC is ultimately basing their plan on an assumption that the switch from analog TV to digital TV wasn't a major paradigm shift, which is why Julius Genachowski thinks he is doing broadcasters a favor by offering to buy their spectrum. I really doubt the man has ever hooked a digital TV to an antenna and scanned for channels.

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post #190 of 2861 Old 04-19-2010, 09:35 AM
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I really doubt the man has ever hooked a digital TV to an antenna and scanned for channels.

Form TV Technology:

Quote:


Let's have a look-see at who is serving on the Commish today, why don't we?

Chairman Julius Genachowski has a background in the computer/IT world. Uh oh! Aren't those the guys who want our spectrum? Michael Copps has experience in trade development in the Department of Commerce, on the staff of former Senator Fritz Hollings, and as a professor of U.S. history. Robert McDowell's background is as a telecommunications industry lobbyist. Mignon Clyburn served on the Public Service Commission of South Carolina and as publisher of a weekly newspaper. Meredith Atwell Baker served as Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, and as Acting Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Agency, whose mission, among others, is to advise the president on telecommunications and information policy.

I'm not sure any of these folks even know what DTV is.
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post #191 of 2861 Old 04-19-2010, 10:09 AM
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I'm not sure any of these folks even know what DTV is.

Mignon Clyburn is the only one who has expressed any reservations and did so based on concerns about minority and woman owership (Clyburn is a African American woman). None of them act like they have any technical understanding of digital broadcast television, and certainly don't understand its potential for mass communications.

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post #192 of 2861 Old 04-22-2010, 10:28 AM
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The following article is about a "deal" that was reported to be worked out at NAB. I don't know what that means, or what it will ultimately mean for consumers.

http://www.rbr.com/tv-cable/23472.html

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post #193 of 2861 Old 04-22-2010, 02:57 PM
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Well, maybe broadcast is safe, but I read that as sort of like the agreement between the scorpion and the frog when fleeing the fire at the edge of the big lake... Or perhaps more like a rattlesnake agreeing not to eat a gopher if it will let it share its warm den (it never agreed not to eat its young).
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post #194 of 2861 Old 04-24-2010, 07:22 AM
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post #195 of 2861 Old 04-24-2010, 05:42 PM
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Sounds like a perfect job for a team of eunuch programmers.
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post #196 of 2861 Old 04-26-2010, 12:39 AM
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Why didn't the "DTV Border Fix Act" pass??

I know it's for only Analog Broadcast 50 miles from the US border to Mexico
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post #197 of 2861 Old 04-26-2010, 09:05 AM
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http://www.tvnewscheck.com/articles/2010/04/26/daily.3/

With all the information running around it is difficult to know what exactly the FCC is, or isn't, up to.

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post #198 of 2861 Old 04-27-2010, 11:16 AM
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NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith before the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

http://www.tvnewscheck.com/articles/2010/04/27/daily.8/

http://www.nab.org/documents/newsroo...um_Written.pdf

Based on Smith's testimony, the FCC is talking out of both sides of their mouth; saying on one hand that their plan to reallocate broadcast spectrum will be strictly voluntary while on the other hand proposing charging broadcasters large fees which would force many broadcasters to “volunteer.” In other words, a backhanded plan to clear the broadcast bands without using proper established procedures.

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post #199 of 2861 Old 05-02-2010, 07:48 PM
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Yeah, it appears the FCC is attempting to "back-door" the broadcast industry. I truly think forces inside the FCC are looking at broadcasting like traffic regulators in big cities began looking at horses and buggies in the 1920s -- as vestiges of the last century, outdated technology, and something to be phased out by whatever means possible -- and really don't care how much money both broadcasters AND home users paid (not to mention Congress, via converter coupons) to upgrade to digital only a year ago.

To me, and I'm sorry, but based on what this idealist has seen during his life of watching government, business and media, I feel there have to be long-range personal/business interests in this for many of the people involved. Even with some of the changes Congress has made in recent years about government employees not being able to work in industries they regulate for a certain period after they leave their posts, I think the limit is still just two years. That's not very long for a Genachowski or someone if they have a "gentleman's agreement" for a big, multi-million-dollar-per-year job with, say, Sprint, or Verizon, or AT&T or somebody as soon as that period is up. I'm not saying that's true, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised... The Medicare Part D law, which actually benefited the big pharmaceutical companies WAY more than it did senior citizens -- the Congressional sponsor for that and SEVEN other people closely associated with it had high-paying jobs with those very companies within a year of its passage (I'm talking million-dollar salaries). Those are facts you can check out.

I really hope I'm wrong about that, but I certainly wouldn't be surprised. As has already been posted, most of the current commission members already have histories in that realm. It's disheartening this sort of thing just seems to be unstoppable. Even when Congress passed a campaign reform law to try to lessen the influence of big corporations, the Supreme Court ruled $$$ = speech and ruled it unconstitutional. If government regulation will always come down to which side has the biggest pockets, the nation's eventually doomed.
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post #200 of 2861 Old 05-03-2010, 12:40 PM
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I don't particularly trust the current FCC (and for the record, I didn't much like the last one under either Powell or Martin). And I have deep concerns about the motives of the current administration when it comes to broadcast free speech, particularly as it applies to radio.

That said, I think it makes perfect sense to charge broadcasters the going rate for the spectrum they use. If there is a spectrum crunch, the logical place to start to address this is with the "free riders." If a TV broadcaster can't cover the cost of spectrum they use, they need to adjust their business model or find another business.

Maybe that fixes the spectrum crunch or maybe it doesn't. But it should be the absolute starting point for the discussion. Anyone who tells you that this will be the death of free over-the-air television is driving a completely different agenda.

One other point: Broadcasters currently using free spectrum should not be enticed to vacate that spectrum by giving them a green light to sell it then and retain any or all of the proceeds. Broadcasters don't "own" the airwaves and they should not benefit from any transaction where any part of the spectrum they currently utilize changes hands. If they want to keep using it, they pay for it; if not, it goes back into inventory and goes onto the auction block for other uses.

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post #201 of 2861 Old 05-03-2010, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by DroptheRemote View Post

That said, I think it makes perfect sense to charge broadcasters the going rate for the spectrum they use. If there is a spectrum crunch, the logical place to start to address this is with the "free riders." If a TV broadcaster can't cover the cost of spectrum they use, they need to adjust their business model or find another business.

So, what your saying is that people should be forced to pay for everything. Ultimately your saying people shouldn't have access to any free services, the bandwidth is under used, since someone else would be willing to pay a lot of money to use the frequencies to suck huge amounts of money out of the American publics pockets.

You hate poor people don't you? You want to suck everyone's bank account dry, and you won't be happy until you get the job done.

Since a top 10 market VHF station currently has to pay a $78,000 per year fee for their channel, I don't know how you can say they are "free riders".

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post #202 of 2861 Old 05-03-2010, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkreichen1968 View Post

So, what your saying is that people should be forced to pay for everything. Ultimately your saying people shouldn't have access to any free services, the bandwidth is under used, since someone else would be willing to pay a lot of money to use the frequencies to suck huge amounts of money out of the American publics pockets.

You hate poor people don't you? You want to suck everyone's bank account dry, and you won't be happy until you get the job done.

Since a top 10 market VHF station currently has to pay a $78,000 per year fee for their channel, I don't know how you can say they are "free riders".

I came over and posted here, because you invited me from the St. Louis OTA discussion. But it appears from your own words and actions that you were really only interested in finding someone who would agree with you.

Worse, you question my motives and my character. Why not just call me a racist, too, and be done with it? You know, that's quite the fashionable thing to do these days when you find someone who doesn't agree with you.

Sadly, it's people like you who are largely responsible for making AVS into a something less than a rewarding online experience. Yes, it used to be fun to be here and to listen and learn from other people.

But that was quite a while ago, and that's obviously not what you're about.

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post #203 of 2861 Old 05-03-2010, 04:15 PM
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Sadly, it's people like you who are largely responsible for making AVS into a something less than a rewarding online experience. Yes, it used to be fun to be here and to listen and learn from other people.

But that was quite a while ago, and that's obviously not what you're about.

What will I learn from you that you haven't already said? Based on your logic people should be charged "fair market value" for their 2.4GHz band WiFi networks, cordless phones (900MHz & 1.9GHz), and Family Radio Service (462 MHz), those "free riders" are the problem. When I point that out, and that your type of thinking hurts low income people, your offended. I was offended!!! I'm offended by people who believe that free services have no value, or that they need to be eliminated to make room for "higher value" pay services. That is where your thinking leads, and I'm sorry if pointing that out offends you.

What I'm about is simple, keeping free TV free, and ensuring that there is affordable bandwidth to expand it in the future. Your obviously diametrically opposed to that, so please forgive me for not telling you how wonderful your ideas are.

According to Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg the cable industry is sitting on 150 MHz of spectrum on which they haven't even started to build. If that is true, then there is absolutely no reason to steal 120 MHz, or more, from the people who watch OTA television. Ultimately your not taking it from the broadcasters, your taking it from the people who use the service, which at the moment is primarily low income families.

It's 2014 and you're still paying for television?
 

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post #204 of 2861 Old 05-03-2010, 07:31 PM
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According to Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg the cable industry is sitting on 150 MHz of spectrum on which they haven't even started to build. If that is true, then there is absolutely no reason to steal 120 MHz, or more, from the people who watch OTA television.

Seidenberg is talking about the EBS/BRS band at 2.5 GHz. It is currently being built out by Clearwire and this is where Sprint is offering their current 4G service.

I believe Seidenberg is suggesting that this spectrum is underutilized by Clearwire/Sprint, and it should be opened up to other companies (such as his own company, Verizon). However, this can be viewed as just "sour grapes".

But the ship has already sailed on the EBS/BRS band, and in fact, the FCC counts this spectrum already in "the plan" as current spectrum.

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post #205 of 2861 Old 05-03-2010, 10:42 PM
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Here's a relevant link on the Clearwire/Sprint/Comcast/Time Warner WiMax rollout.

http://www.lightreading.com/blog.asp...doc_id=191266&

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post #206 of 2861 Old 05-03-2010, 11:12 PM
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Seidenberg is talking about the EBS/BRS band at 2.5 GHz. It is currently being built out by Clearwire and this is where Sprint is offering their current 4G service.

I believe Seidenberg is suggesting that this spectrum is underutilized by Clearwire/Sprint, and it should be opened up to other companies (such as his own company, Verizon). However, this can be viewed as just "sour grapes".

But the ship has already sailed on the EBS/BRS band, and in fact, the FCC counts this spectrum already in "the plan" as current spectrum.

EBS/BRS is 194MHz or 35% of current broadband allocation and it appears that Clearwire owns a lot of it. If that is just coming on line, that is a lot when you figure that PCS and Cellular combined are only 170 MHz.

The FCC could easily reallocate 170 MHz for broadband by 2015 without touching broadcast, and then another 200 MHz by 2010. By then we will be on 5 or 6G and no one will miss the 120 MHz they want to take from broadcast. If not, if their successful with their plan, the 22% of people who either never had subscription television(10%), or plan to drop it by the end of 2010(12%), certainly will miss it.

One thing that drives me crazy is people who seem to think that the only stakeholders in broadcast television are the broadcasters. The biggest stakeholders by far are the people who watch.

It's 2014 and you're still paying for television?
 

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post #207 of 2861 Old 05-03-2010, 11:57 PM
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I don't particularly trust the current FCC (and for the record, I didn't much like the last one under either Powell or Martin). And I have deep concerns about the motives of the current administration when it comes to broadcast free speech, particularly as it applies to radio.

That said, I think it makes perfect sense to charge broadcasters the going rate for the spectrum they use. If there is a spectrum crunch, the logical place to start to address this is with the "free riders." If a TV broadcaster can't cover the cost of spectrum they use, they need to adjust their business model or find another business.

Maybe that fixes the spectrum crunch or maybe it doesn't. But it should be the absolute starting point for the discussion. Anyone who tells you that this will be the death of free over-the-air television is driving a completely different agenda.

One other point: Broadcasters currently using free spectrum should not be enticed to vacate that spectrum by giving them a green light to sell it then and retain any or all of the proceeds. Broadcasters don't "own" the airwaves and they should not benefit from any transaction where any part of the spectrum they currently utilize changes hands. If they want to keep using it, they pay for it; if not, it goes back into inventory and goes onto the auction block for other uses.

I'm not going to "attack you" like dreichen did, but the way you phrased your post almost makes it appear that broadcasters are currently getting their spectrum for free. As he pointed out, those in big markets are paying $78,000 per year for their licenses (his figures -- I neither have any figures nor know how to obtain them).

At any rate, that seems like a substantial amount of money over the long haul (A Million Dollars over 12 years, roughly), just for licensing, in addition to all the many other operating expenses for broadcast TV. I don't know how much the FCC is talking about increases those license fees, either, but I DO get the impression that unlike the broadcast industry, once a cellular carrier has it, they BUY IT, rather than license it, and it's theirs pretty much from then on (please correct me if I'm wrong on that).

If license fees are equal for all licensees for the same amount of bandwidth for the same period of time, well, that does sound like a level playing field EXCEPT, once again, for the fact that broadcasters DO provide their signals FREE (paid by sponsors), and direct to EVERYONE within signal range, whereas wireless carriers provide only one-to-one signals, and always at a cost to whoever is receiving the signal.

Both of those factors weigh significantly in this argument, in my opinion -- and again I watch no broadcast without the benefit of cable or satellite and listen to very little broadcast radio. They still serve vital public interests.
Jeff

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post #208 of 2861 Old 05-04-2010, 04:50 AM
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Every year we see figures like 12% plan to drop subscription television in 2010. My guess is the actual number will be less than 1 %. The number of people receiving TV OTA will not be 22 % in 2011 no matter what happens to broadcast spectrum.
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post #209 of 2861 Old 05-04-2010, 06:16 AM
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Ya' know...I'm kinda wondering what might be going on in Nashville right now. Do they still have Cable TV and high-speed internet service? Are their satellite dishes still working?

How many people are getting any news via OTA TV, via Cable TV or via Satellite TV?

Is the FCC monitoring the situation, and perhaps wondering if their proposed "all-in-one basket" plan for moving broadcasting to pay services and internet, isn't the best idea after all?

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post #210 of 2861 Old 05-04-2010, 07:53 AM
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Every year we see figures like 12% plan to drop subscription television in 2010. My guess is the actual number will be less than 1 %. The number of people receiving TV OTA will not be 22 % in 2011 no matter what happens to broadcast spectrum.

Close to 1% had already dropped their subscriptions by the end of 2009, and since a large portion of my friends and family are OTA only I have the tendency to believe that the FCC's 10% is a purposely understated number in the first place.

Let's do a little economic analysis based on lost opportunity. Let's go with the FCC's mythical 10% number. That is 30 million people or about 10 million households. If we figure the average "basic" TV package is $50 per month then those people are saving $500 million per month, or $6 billion per year. For those 10% of people, free broadcast television provides $20 million of value per MHz per year. That is money which can be used to pay off their credit cards, saved for their children's education, put in their 401K for retirement, given to charity, or even spent at a local resturant. That is the factor that the "broadcast be damned" attitude fails to take into account, the real value that broadcast brings to the viewing public.

As far as DropTheRemote's little "your attacking me" fit is concerned... You really need to read some of the polemics of the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries to see how thin your skin really is. Something like Jefferson's first draft of the "Declaration of Independence" or Martin Luther's "Bondage of the Will."

And, here are the proposed 2010 broadcast fee structure, which is basically unchange from last year.

http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2010...ory-fees/#more

It's 2014 and you're still paying for television?
 

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