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A prominent consumer group Monday called for the seizure of TV broadcasters' digital spectrum as a wasting resource that should be transferred to the more dynamic wireless high-speed-data industry.


"It is time for the [Federal Communications Commission] to take back the spectrum and put it to better uses, like WiFi [wireless fidelity, or 802.11b] and other unlicensed wireless applications, which are growing like wildfire," said Mark Cooper, research director of the Consumer Federation of America, in a prepared statement.


Cooper's comments came as the FCC moves forward with a review of TV stations' transition to all-digital broadcasting. The transition will conclude with the return of analog spectrum, which is not expected to occur for many years.


The National Association of Broadcasters reported that 825 TV stations (some of them noncommercial) have begun digital broadcasting, but the CFA said about 350 are operating at full power.


"Low-power stations are not fully replicating their analog-service contours in digital, which means that some percentage of homes within their analog service areas cannot receive their digital signals," Cooper said.


He added that the FCC’s unwillingness to pressure broadcasters to make full use of the digital spectrum has contributed to slow consumer adoption of digital-TV sets. The commission allowed stations to conserve power in the early stages of the transition to save money.


"With little programming actually available to consumers, sales of digital-TV sets have been lagging, which will only further delay the transition if the FCC does not act quickly," Cooper said.


Last year, at the urging of the NAB, the FCC ordered the inclusion of off-air digital-TV tuners in new TV sets. The five-year phase-in begins in July 2004, when 50 percent of all sets 36 inches and larger must have off-air digital tuners.

http://www.multichannel.com/index.as...y=breakingNews
 

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Kipp -


Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but it seems somewhat "tongue in cheek". If that be the case, I would have to agree. If these local broadcasters are jerking everybody's chain with non compliance, then they should give the spectrum back for other uses. Let the nets send a national feed through cable or sat and blow the local con artists off the map.


After KABC's debacle with the Oscars and continued transmitter problems (off the air for three days prior to the Oscars) they should get the cane.


WRAL should be set as the digital benchmark, anything below that bar is a ripoff of the digital spectrum and in turn the public who own the airwaves!!


The FCC better start getting tough and acting on our behalf, than crumbling to the meager excuses of local broadcasters who have had close to seven years to be up and running at full power!!! All they do is add 90 seconds to a spot set that is already too long.
 

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Everyone was supposed to be digital by now. It didn't happen.


How about this amendment:


Anyone who isn't digital by the end of 2003 and isn't a PBS loses their channel and we take that spectrum and make it useful for WiFi.


Of course, we don't need it because the gov't has begun carving out a big chunk of national spectrum for 3G services which are essentially dead before they start (due to existing WiFi and new long-range WiFi coming down the pike). That would be national spectrum and really should be purposed for WiFi, which is what consumers want.


There is also national MMDS spectrum that is almost entirely unused. There is also national LMDS that is almost entirely unused. Then there are all the analog channel recaptures that are coming.


Add to this more spectrally efficient technologies -- ever better CDMA variants of all kinds, et al. -- sectorized antennae, and whatever other technological innovations come down the pike and the notion we are short on spectrum looks as idiotic as the Malthusian predictions that the world would be unable to feed itself by the early part of the prior century.


Mark
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
Everyone was supposed to be digital by now. It didn't happen.


How about this amendment:


Anyone who isn't digital by the end of 2003 and isn't a PBS loses their channel and we take that spectrum and make it useful for WiFi.

Only if those cities' consumers are then allowed to get a national feed of network HDTV.


I'd also say if they aren't digital by the end of this year they lose their ANALOG license too. That'd make 'em more eager to comply.


-David
 

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Only if those cities' consumers are then allowed to get a national feed of network HDTV.
Actually, that alone might do it if there was an appropriate ruling.


Just say that, for any station not passing through the network feed at FULL resolution, there were no restrictions on the consumer getting the real one from some other provider.


This would probably fix things pretty fast.


- Tom
 

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Umm, the 'digital spectrum' is the same as the analog spectrum. As I understand it, the FCC allocates channels for digital use on the basis of noninterference with existing analog (and digital) stations. Trying to license WiFi (or anything else) on a geographic, noninterference basis would be a nightmare. Sounds like a case of ignorance to me.
 

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> Anyone who isn't digital by the end of 2003 and isn't a PBS loses their channel and we take that spectrum and make it useful for WiFi.


How about keeping that spectrum for televison broadcast service, but making it available for new applicants who propose to build new stations?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Thomas Desmond
> Anyone who isn't digital by the end of 2003 and isn't a PBS loses their channel and we take that spectrum and make it useful for WiFi.


How about keeping that spectrum for televison broadcast service, but making it available for new applicants who propose to build new stations?
Here is a link to an article in TV Technology that says the FCC is considering such action.

FCC Spells Out Sanctions for DTV Latecomers
 

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OOOH! They can hit them with a "formal admonishing". I'm sure that has 'em quaking!


Seriously, though, the FCC under young Powell has been far more serious and impressive than I would have bet and I am generally pleased.


Mark
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by djs
Umm, the 'digital spectrum' is the same as the analog spectrum. As I understand it, the FCC allocates channels for digital use on the basis of noninterference with existing analog (and digital) stations. Trying to license WiFi (or anything else) on a geographic, noninterference basis would be a nightmare. Sounds like a case of ignorance to me.
The digital spectrum is not the same as the analog spectrum. The FCC allocated a second channel to all of the local stations on which to begin broadcasting DTV. They were to give back one of the channels at the end of the transition (and to stop broadcasting analog altogether), which was first defined by a date, and is now defined by some fuzzy criterion of what percentage of the population is able to receive DTV.


Since 70% of the population watches television on cable, the "simple" solution is to make the cable SOs replace all of their STBs with boxes capable of downconverting DTV and outputting it over S-video and component for viewing on analog televisions. An all-DTV situation would actually save cable bandwidth--the cable SOs who are rebroadcasting DTV are doing it with two channels per one analog channel's worth of bandwith, using QAM (mostly--a few are rebroadcasting 8 VSB, which won't last for long).


As someone who works on wireless consumer electronic, ubiquitous WiFi seems like a worthy goal. Imagine being able to access the net wirelessly from anywhere at broadband speeds.


-- Mike Scott
 

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Originally posted by michaeltscott
The digital spectrum is not the same as the analog spectrum. The FCC allocated a second channel to all of the local stations on which to begin broadcasting DTV. They were to give back one of the channels at the end of the transition (and to stop broadcasting analog altogether), which was first defined by a date, and is now defined by some fuzzy criterion of what percentage of the population is able to receive DTV.
The only channels that will become available for other uses are those above channel 52. The channels below 52 will be reserved for DTV, and they will occupy the same spectrum as the analog channels of the same number did.


The "fuzzy criterion" was not added later, it was written into the legislation at it's inception.

Quote:
Since 70% of the population watches television on cable, the "simple" solution is to make the cable SOs replace all of their STBs with boxes capable of downconverting DTV and outputting it over S-video and component for viewing on analog televisions. An all-DTV situation would actually save cable bandwidth--the cable SOs who are rebroadcasting DTV are doing it with two channels per one analog channel's worth of bandwith, using QAM (mostly--a few are rebroadcasting 8 VSB, which won't last for long).
Most TV markets include many different cable companies, and most of them still get their feed off the air, so the transmitter is still the main method of delivery for most viewers.

Quote:
As someone who works on wireless consumer electronic, ubiquitous WiFi seems like a worthy goal. Imagine being able to access the net wirelessly from anywhere at broadband speeds.


-- Mike Scott
 

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Thanks for the clarification. I do think for HD Locals the most elegant solution will be a combination SAT and wireless repeaters in the next 10 years what the standard will be time will tell.


Also on the XM front NAB is really trying to stop XM from delivering local content for the fear of the obvious reasons. NAB is lobbying the FCC and does not want any more repeaters deployed.
 
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