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AVS Official Topic - The FCC & Broadcast Spectrum - Page 8

post #211 of 2861
Jeff,

An annual fee of $78,000 comes nowhere near the actual market value of the spectrum used by a television station. Granted, it does make my "free rider" characterization a bit unfair, so I stand corrected there. Still, this fee represents a significant public subsidy that I find difficult to reconcile.

I think you and others make a mistake when you focus on the fact that consumers don't directly pay for OTA television. While it is true that the end-user only needs a TV and a suitable antenna, the companies providing this service are not operating out of some non-profit altruism. Leaving aside PBS, they are making quite a lot of money through advertising, which is ultimately paid by consumers.

Understand I have no problem with broadcasters making a buck (if anything, they need to make more money). But they also need to pay for what they are using in terms of scarce public resources. I think it was completely defensible to provide broadcasters with effectively free spectrum in return for public service commitments in the early days of broadcast television to help promote and foster its development as important mass medium for our society. But I now think in the wake of all the avenues that we have for news, information and entertainment that it no longer makes any sense to effectively subsidize their use of public airwaves, particularly if we are facing a situation where a dwindling audience is taking up a disproportionate share of those resources.

I'm not in favor of killing free broadcast TV, but I think the assumptions made nearly a century ago about spectrum allocation need to be reviewed and updated to match the realities of both the TV industry, consumer needs and our overall national telecom priorities.
post #212 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by DroptheRemote View Post

it no longer makes any sense to effectively subsidize their use of public airwaves, particularly if we are facing a situation where a dwindling audience is taking up a disproportionate share of those resources.

Doug,

You bring up an important assumption that you are making. That broadcast television has a dwindling audience. When Yahoo news posted the article that reported that 800,000 people had cut the cord on subscription TV by the end of 2009.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ytech_gadg/ytech_gadg_tc1598

It garnered over 9400 comments to date, most of which were posted by people who either had, were planning on doing so as soon as their contract ran out, or wanted to but... that equals a rapidly expanding audience, not a dwindling audience. Your whole dwindling audience assumption is based on a analog broadcast model which no longer exists.

I also could point out that the FCC could have decided in the early 90s to give the cellular carriers low cost licenses for their spectrum rather than auctioning it. I know that this country has developed a bizarre sense of egalitarianism where we think everyone should have to pay the same, but that doesn't have to be the case. It basically comes down to covetousness. "That's not fair." Maybe it makes it so someone may be able to have something they wouldn't otherwise be able to have.
post #213 of 2861
Of all those places where people say they get their news from (besides traditional media...radio, TV, Newspapers), where do those "places" get it from?
Aren't most of them simply "aggregators", who compile and link-to stories from the radio, TV and newspaper media, or from Press Releases and magazines?

It seems that I have never met a real live reporter for the "Huffington Post" or any other internet-only "news source". And, none of my friends have, either.

BTW, where will the money come from, if broadcasters have to pay more fees to the Government?
I think we all know "where", don't we?
post #214 of 2861
Count us as one household who just dropped satellite service in favor of OTA reception only. It will be saving us a minimum of $40 a month. The money we save will help pay off our debt faster, which means we'll sooner be able to spend more. And, we will likely spend more at local businesses like restaurants, movie theaters, or home improvement stores, which can only be good for the economy.

I just dropped off our leased satellite equipment yesterday at the UPS store, and lo and behold, there was someoby else doing the same thing.

I think overall we as a society need to stop looking at the 'highest and best use' of any particular natural resource (in this case, the radio frequency spectrum) as whatever will make the most money. That cannot possibly be in the best interest of society - only those who are selling the resource. In the end, it's always the consumers who get the shaft in that scenario. They either pay whatever ridiculous amount is currently in vogue ($39.99/mo, 69.99/mo, etc), or go without.

If the goal of the FCC and our government is to act in the public's best interest and make the most broadband/TV/wireless/whatever service available to the most people, they need to reduce the average monthly fee to consumers, not increase it. Broadcast television, being free and receiveable by anyone within range of the towers and their antenna, can serve infinitely more people than satellite or cable can at no cost to the consumer. Yet, as has been pointed out, local broadcasters are still making money. This is a win-win-win, for broadcasters, advertisers, and consumers. The same can be said for radio.

To do away with either of these immensely valuable public services so that some nerd can watch TV, surf porn sites, and tweet 20 times faster from his iphone in the middle of nowhere would be sheer lunacy.

And I didn't see it mentioned, but what about the emergency broadcast system? I guess only people paying $50+ a month for their wireless broadband mini-computer/phone/espresso machine will pick up that signal and be alerted to the impending disaster.
post #215 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkreichen1968 View Post

Doug,

You bring up an important assumption that you are making. That broadcast television has a dwindling audience. When Yahoo news posted the article that reported that 800,000 people had cut the cord on subscription TV by the end of 2009.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ytech_gadg/ytech_gadg_tc1598

It garnered over 9400 comments to date, most of which were posted by people who either had, were planning on doing so as soon as their contract ran out, or wanted to but... that equals a rapidly expanding audience, not a dwindling audience. Your whole dwindling audience assumption is based on a analog broadcast model which no longer exists.

I also could point out that the FCC could have decided in the early 90s to give the cellular carriers low cost licenses for their spectrum rather than auctioning it. I know that this country has developed a bizarre sense of egalitarianism where we think everyone should have to pay the same, but that doesn't have to be the case. It basically comes down to covetousness. "That's not fair." Maybe it makes it so someone may be able to have something they wouldn't otherwise be able to have.

dk, I don't have time right this minute to click the link about the current broadcast license fee schedule, but I will later. However, I gather from your last paragraph above that ever since the cellular business began in the early 90s, THEIR spectrum has been auctioned, as is the current discussion for more spectrum, and I assume the word "auction" implies whoever gets the spectrum OWNS it outright from that point forward, with NO yearly license fee?

If that's the case, then I don't care how "disproportionately low" the license fees are compared to the value are for broadcasters, as long as they're paying EVERY YEAR, that has to be more "fair and sensible" that someone who just BUYS a frequency outright -- unless they also have to pay a yearly license fee on top of that (and I agree that if they're increased, that will simply mean higher ad rates, thus higher prices for products we buy, and/or the loss of some local programs that will lose sponsors).

I agree there should be some sort of "level playing field," but I think the public interests should be factored into that playing field along with business interests.
Jeff
post #216 of 2861
Verizon paid $4,741,807,000 for their 700 MHz Block C license (which is 22 MHz wide). Even if they hold the license for a 1000 years (the actual license term is 10 years), that's still $4.74 million a year.

$78,000 a year for a DTV license is chump change.

Ron
post #217 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr1394 View Post

Verizon paid $4,741,807,000 for their 700 MHz Block C license (which is 22 MHz wide). Even if they hold the license for a 1000 years (the actual license term is 10 years), that's still $4.74 million a year.

$78,000 a year for a DTV license is chump change.

Ron

$78K is only a small part of the costs that broadcasters pay/absorb due to the fact that they have an FCC license.

And, any increase in the cost of doing business in TV and radio will result in the loss of jobs and programming, since no station is in business to try and lose money. The alternative is, to have the viewers pay us for our service, like those guaranteed monthly fees Verizon and others get from their customers.
post #218 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr1394 View Post

Verizon paid $4,741,807,000 for their 700 MHz Block C license (which is 22 MHz wide). Even if they hold the license for a 1000 years (the actual license term is 10 years), that's still $4.74 million a year.

$78,000 a year for a DTV license is chump change.

Ron

And based on everyone needs to pay the going rate for spectrum idea, families who use the family radio service to communicate with their kids need to be charged the going rate for spectrum. After all their "free riders." If they didn't have free access to FRS they would need to get a family plan from Verizon at $69.99 plus $9.99 per child per month.

Verizon was willing to pay that much for 22 MHz for 10 years because it fit into their business model. Under the Old Testament law land owners were required to leave the corners of their fields so that they could be gleaned by the poor and the alien. The idea that everyone needs to pay the same for radio spectrum, even when they are providing a service free to the public is a violation of that principle. And I will add, as I've said before, people who believe that the spectrum issue needs to be looked at in egalitarian terms HATE their poor neighbor.
post #219 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr1394 View Post

Verizon paid $4,741,807,000 for their 700 MHz Block C license (which is 22 MHz wide). Even if they hold the license for a 1000 years (the actual license term is 10 years), that's still $4.74 million a year.

$78,000 a year for a DTV license is chump change.

Ron

Ummm, Ron, if your first figure is correct, then your second figure is off by TWO FULL DECIMAL POINTS and should be $474 million per year, which I feel is a rather outrageous figure for even a cellular company to be paying for only 22 megahertz per year -- even if that's for the entire nation. Are you sure you have your figures right?

All the same, even if it is both kenglish and dkreikhen have valid points about both multiple higher costs for broadcast TV that don't exist for cellular and the benefits to end-users that don't exist with cellular carriers, and again, while those other costs for broadcasters may or may not be relevant to the discussion, I definitely believe the PUBLIC INTERESTS of broadcast TV and radio should have a significant weighting in any formula used to determine any "end point" -- probably at least something like 1-1-1, with the public interests being one third of that equation, if not more.

When I say "public interests," I DON'T mean "public demand" for more 3G and 4G availability so people can multitask on their cell phones and download movies while they talk, etc., either. I mean the public interests in retaining free broadcasting TV and radio!
Jeff
post #220 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkreichen1968 View Post

...families who use the family radio service to communicate with their kids need to be charged the going rate for spectrum.

You mean those few who actually do pay.
post #221 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffAHayes View Post

Ummm, Ron, if your first figure is correct, then your second figure is off by TWO FULL DECIMAL POINTS and should be $474 million per year, which I feel is a rather outrageous figure for even a cellular company to be paying for only 22 megahertz per year -- even if that's for the entire nation. Are you sure you have your figures right?
Jeff

The $4.74 billion number is well documented. Go to:

http://wireless.fcc.gov/auctions/def..._summary&id=73

and click on "View Auction Results".

Verizon bought 7 of the 12 C Block licenses.

Northeast = $502,774,000
Southeast = $424,224,000
Great Lakes = $1,109,715,000
Mississippi Valley = $1,625,930,000
Central = $723,228,000
West = $319,798,000
Hawaii = $36,138,000

total = $4,741,807,000

The other areas are Alaska, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands, Gulf of Mexico and two licenses that cover the Pacific (Guam, etc.). So in effect, they have a nationwide license.

If you re-read my sentence without the parenthetical, "Even if they hold the license for a 1000 years, that's still $4.74 million a year", the math seems fine.

For the record, I would like to see free over the air television continue. I think it's pretty unfair to force broadcasters to move to digital and then pull the rug out from underneath as soon as the transition was finished. Also, although I may be one of the few in the world, I don't own a cellphone (or 3G iPad).

However, the reason I posted the Verizon dollar amounts was to show just how enticing it is for the FCC to throw DTV under the bus and auction the spectrum. Add in the decline in OTA viewership:

http://broadcastengineering.com/hdtv...-percent-0504/

and it's not difficult to see the writing on the wall.

Ron
post #222 of 2861
OK, I gotcha now, Ron. Your parentheses mixed me up. Yeah, if you divide that figure by 1,000 then that does work out to $4.74 million per year. Then again, the fact that Verizon paid just south of $5 BILLION for 10 years of 22 Mhz worth of bandwidth nationwide proves just HOW MUCH MONEY is being made in that business. They have to STILL be turning a profit even after spending $475 MILLION per year JUST for that additional spectrum license -- in addition to whatever their current spectrum license fees were. Of course considering how much cellular carriers charge, how many folks have one or more cell phones (most families have at least one for every member), and the fact that almost ALL customers are required to sign a 2-year contract when they sign up or else pay through the nose for their phone(s), they probably DO make it up reasonably easily.

I agree it's really easy to see why the FCC might want to have more of those auctions if they can get that kind of dough from the cellular carriers... Still doesn't equate to an "emmiment domain" sort of justification, though, which is pretty close to where the FCC seems to be heading.
Jeff
post #223 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr1394 View Post

.......
$78,000 a year for a DTV license is chump change.
Ron

If every viewer felt that way, like you do, and was willing to write a check for $78K to their local broadcasters, we'd be making a profit again.

But, I guess you wouldn't be willing to give us such a small amount, would you.
post #224 of 2861
post #225 of 2861
12 KW Terrestrial Repeaters for satrad?

That's more than they allow for many REAL Terrestrial radio stations!
post #226 of 2861
For Ken English

Do you know what the market share of viewers the four major networks have these days? How many view the four major networks via: OTA? DirecTV and Dish Network? Cable systems (Comcast, Warner, etc.)?

I am retired and been out of loop for sometime now.
post #227 of 2861
Probably the "Broadcasting and Cable" magazine website would be the best place to look for that info.


Somebody called us yesterday and wanted to know.....
They were asking some people about what would be a good OTA antenna to buy, and someone from Comcast (tech, sales, ??) told them that the FCC is definitely turning off all the OTA stations soon, and not to waste their time and money on an antenna.
He wanted to know why we haven't been informing people of that "fact" .
post #228 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenglish View Post

They were asking some people about what would be a good OTA antenna to buy, and someone from Comcast (tech, sales, ??) told them that the FCC is definitely turning off all the OTA stations soon, and not to waste their time and money on an antenna.

It is sad when BS such as this gets propagated as the truth by someone such as Comcast. Too bad the individual cannot be held accountable for providing false information to the public.
post #229 of 2861
Every, and I mean literally every, sales rep in the TV department I've ever talked to in a Best Buy (which, of course, pushes both Comcast and Direct) has initially (before the point where they discovered I wasn't clueless) tried to hand me the line that, "You can't get HD over the air".

So you know it's not just isolated cases of ignorance, at least with them.
post #230 of 2861
And, Best Buy still has those signs that say "you can UPGRADE from your old antenna to PAY TV".

Riiiighttt
post #231 of 2861
The following is an article announcing a spectrum technical meeting.

http://www.tvnewscheck.com/articles/2010/06/09/daily.6/

It will be interesting to see what the results are.
post #232 of 2861
Thanks.

So, the objectives are:

Quote:


The Broadcast Engineering Forum will comprise four working sessions:
1) Cellularization of Broadcast Architecture;
2) Methodologies for Repacking the TV Band;
3) Improvements in VHF Reception; and
4) Advancements in Compression Technology.
post #233 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by Falcon_77 View Post

Thanks.

So, the objectives are:

The Broadcast Engineering Forum will comprise four working sessions:
1) Cellularization of Broadcast Architecture;
2) Methodologies for Repacking the TV Band;
3) Improvements in VHF Reception; and
4) Advancements in Compression Technology.

MSTV already filed a paper on the impractical nature of cellularization (broadcast towers every few miles), and I don't think you could have higher compression without updating receivers, so it comes down to repacking, which will probably mean using low VHF and putting the small broadcasters in channels 46-51 out of business by forcing them to rechannel once again.
post #234 of 2861
post #235 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkreichen1968 View Post

The following is an article announcing a spectrum technical meeting.

http://www.tvnewscheck.com/articles/2010/06/09/daily.6/

It will be interesting to see what the results are.

More information on the meeting below:

http://www.tvnewscheck.com/articles/2010/06/10/daily.7/
post #236 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkreichen1968 View Post

MSTV already filed a paper on the impractical nature of cellularization (broadcast towers every few miles), and I don't think you could have higher compression without updating receivers, so it comes down to repacking, which will probably mean using low VHF and putting the small broadcasters in channels 46-51 out of business by forcing them to rechannel once again.

The idea of making DTV "cellular" was discussed at the very beginning of the Transition, and was determined to be unworkable.
But, the current FCC isn't about "engineering", it's all about "fix it in the next upgrade".

And, if the FCC thinks they can move DTV in to the low band and high band VHF channels, they'd better be ready to ENFORCE Part 15 to the max, recall millions of non-compliant electronic noisemaker devices, go after the power companies and plan to put real antennas on a lot of rooftops.
post #237 of 2861
The over-the-air networks (ABC, CBS, et cetera) are watched by 40-50% of America during primetime. About 10% for each of the Big 4, plus 1-3% for each of the smaller networks like PBS, CW, MyNetTV, Ion, Univision, Telemundo, and so on.

If they converted from MPEG2 to MPEG4 they could squeeze twice as many channels in each 6 megahertz block, without loss in quality, but then we'd have to endure ANOTHER converter box transition. The People would rebel.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DroptheRemote View Post

they are making quite a lot of money through advertising, which is ultimately paid by consumers.

Only if you're stupid enough to buy the crap they are advertising. For those of us who ignore the ads, free television really is free. ----- In contrast Comcast recently stopped providing analog cable for my brother. The new digital cable requires converter boxes for the 4 sets in his home, so where he was paying $64/month - now he's paying $85. I have no desire to see that in my future if free TV dies, but that's what will happen if you burden the local stations with high fees.
Quote:


Verizon paid $4,741,807,000 for their 700 MHz Block C license (which is 22 MHz wide).

So about $21 million per year per megahertz. Verizon offsets that expense by raping customers with ~$600 a year cellphone bills. They are collecting billions from the People, while only paying millions back to the public treasury. It's great for them but sucks for us. (Keep reading.....)
Quote:


$78,000 a year for a DTV license is chump change.

Yeah but remember each channel gets reused about 30 times across the continent, so it's actually $2.2 million collected for each 6 megahertz block. AND the station doesn't send us a bill so that $2.2 million times 50 channels == about $110 million goes directly into the People's public treasury..... a GREAT deal for us.
post #238 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by theaveng View Post

Yeah but remember each channel gets reused about 30 times across the continent, so it's actually $2.2 million collected for each 6 megahertz block. AND the station doesn't send us a bill so that $2.2 million times 50 channels == about $110 million goes directly into the People's public treasury..... a GREAT deal for us.

The only problem with your calculations is that not all stations are charged the same. UHF stations pay 1/3 of what VHF stations do and it's tiered for market. Below the top 100 markets the fees are $5,875 VHF $2,025 for UHF. Basically they are based on potential ad revenue, and in the current situation UHF is a much better deal than VHF.
post #239 of 2861
"Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

Just turned in my STB to Comcast today. Good Bye. Good Riddance.

I have 2 cousins that use OTA because subscription content just isn't worth it.

And for Pay TV providers, "May the sewers of Rangoon pour into your breakfast bowl."

Just give me my FireWire and D-VHS (!)
post #240 of 2861
Mobile DTV gets good initial grades

http://www.tvnewscheck.com/articles/2010/06/22/daily.4/

Interview with Republican FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker

http://www.tvnewscheck.com/articles/2010/06/22/daily.2/
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