Fearing a spectrum crunch triggered by runaway demand for wireless broadband services, the FCC is hoping to accost the problem by taking back TV spectrum in exchange for financial support and regulatory commitments to participating broadcasters, including continued legal authority to elect mandatory carriage and retransmission consent on cable systems. The FCC is also considering allowing TV stations that give up their spectrum to share a 6 MHz channel with another local station.
In a letter today to the FCC, ACA urged the FCC to resist attempts by spectrum-divesting TV stations to demand compensation in the form of cable carriage of multiple channels of programming on top of carriage of the primary video feed required by current law. Nor should the FCC allow these same stations to transmit a standard definition signal to the public for free but demand cable carriage in the more bandwidth-intensive, high-definition format. Lastly, ACA went on record opposing new or additional carriage rights for low-power TV stations.
"If the FCC determines that TV spectrum should be reallocated and repurposed, it must ensure that cable operators are held harmless. The government should not repurpose broadcast spectrum on the backs of small cable operators," Polka said.
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