back to article FCC to TV broadcasters: Ready, set ... give your spectrum up

The FCC is poised to publish the mechanism by which US TV broadcasters will be able to swap some of their allocated radio spectrum – which they mostly received for free – for a little cold, hard cash come 2014. The move of asking broadcasters to give some spectrum up was expected, but The Washington Post reckons the FCC will be …

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Silver badge

Cut adverts in the US

Dump all the adverts begging you to sue someone, restrict adverts to 10 per hour etc and you could combine the channels into two thirds of what you have now.

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Silver badge

Re: Cut adverts in the US

Dump all the adverts begging you to sue someone, restrict adverts to 10 per hour etc and you could combine the channels into two thirds of what you have now.

Hell, why stop there? Why not:

1. Dump all the ads urging people to sue someone.

2. Dump all the ads urging people to "ask your doctor" about (insert overpriced prescription drug here).

3. Dump all the political campaign ads, including "issue ads".

4. Dump all the "infomercials".

5. Limit commercials to ten minutes per hour.

...and you'd have extra spectrum out the ass, though I can see where no.5 might be a bit tough, as it'd mean that the writers of all those crappy-assed cookie-cutter sitcoms might actually have to come up with more material.

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Re: Cut adverts in the US

Plus it's not like the networks would lose any money, there would be less advertising slots so the price would surely rise.

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Silver badge

thats 10 minutes per hour..........

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Anonymous Coward

Spectrum?

The article says "Three, the UK's smallest operator, runs its entire national network in 34MHz of high-frequency spectrum." What an odd statement - the entire HF spectrum is barely 30MHz. It is what used to be widely known as "the short-waves". Mobile phone technology however is in the microwave region with most of the world's 3G networks using the 2.1GHz band.

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Headmaster

Pedantry

It's MF up to 3MHz, so you could say that the HF band is only 27MHz.

2.1GHz is part of of the 300MHz-3GHz UHF band according to the ITU

Traditionally microwaves start in the 3GHz to 30GHz SHF band.

See http://www.itu.int/dms_pubrec/itu-r/rec/v/R-REC-V.431-7-200005-I!!PDF-E.pdf

(I am not responsible for the multiple plings, they did that all by themselves!)

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And then we would be like EUROPE!

...FWIW, copying Europe in public policy is a way of slandering someone as avoiding traditional ways in the USA...

Perhaps you have seen Faux news...

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Anonymous Coward

Useless comparison

"The total broadcast system uses several hundred MHz. For the sake of comparison: Three, the UK's smallest operator, runs its entire national network in 34MHz of high-frequency spectrum."

Oh dear.. Why didn't you do a comparison with long wave radio transmissions for heaven's sake - then we'd have another useless comparison.

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Megaphone

go where the waste is, you FoolCC

98 percent of all spectrum is tied up in government allocations, particularly the military. go after the good stuff and leave the TV industry alone.

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Coat

" what will the FCC do if they refuse...?"

Can't they just say the heck with it, claim they have domain over it, take it, offering "fair compensation" ?

Seems to work for governments when they want a highway put through your house.

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Unhappy

Re: Seems to work for governments when they want a highway put through your house.

Or even if they just want to transfer your land to another private industry that will pay more taxes.

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I expect

A lot of the TV stations will be owned by companies that also happen to own cell phone companies. They are going to want to keep the free spectrum and transfer it to their own cellphone service.

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Bronze badge

"Give Up" your spectrum, yah, right!!!!

It would take some serious incentivizing to get the TV broadcasters to"give up" spectrum.

Secondly, what would they actually "give up"?

US TV channels are 6Mhz wide, and are found in these frequency ranges

the low VHF spectrum at

54-72 MHz (TV channels 2-4), 112/714*

76-88 MHz (TV channels 5 and 6), 92/501*

the high VHF spectrum at

174-216 MHz (TV channels 7-13), 779/2872*

and the UHF bands at

470-608 MHz (TV channels 14-36) 1899/9010*

614-698 MHz (TV channels 38-51) 1098/5515*

BTW, there "is" a channel 37, except it is reserved for radio astronomy (IIRC).

*Note:

1) Both totals include allocations for border area Canadian and Mexican stations.

2) The first value is full power DTV licenses ONLY (service "DT")

3) The second value includes both digital and analog, full power, translator and low power stations ("all" services).

For those who want to do their own fact checking:

http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/tv-query-broadcast-station-search

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Silver badge

Secondly, what would they actually "give up"?

Well, British consumers have had to give up their analogue tuners, so that the TV broadcast specturm can be lopped and filled with digital multiplexes, and the rest flogged off - to whom exactly?

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Bronze badge

Re: Secondly, what would they actually "give up"?

I can't speak for what you in the UK had to "give up", but, for the most part, high power analog stations no longer exist. There are some analog stations broadcasting, mostly "community" stations and others that re-broadcast high power stations on a different channel to extend that stations range, or to fill in problem areas (like behind a hill).

The issue is simply this, in the crowded metro areas, where the competition for radio spectrum is the greatest, the least amount of spectrum is available (due, in part to too many TV stations). And, the only way to get more spectrum is to get somebody to move or completely vacate a channel. Then it becomes a case of what's in it for me??

No same broadcaster is going to voluntarily give up a channel, which they currently have all to themselves to put their signal at the mercy of a competitor. It boils down to guaranteeing carriage of your signal; either by your own facilities, or by some arrangement, potentially with a competitor. What will have to worked out is how to protect a broadcaster who relinquishes their frequency from being fucked up the ass by some other station, now that the other station has the first one by the balls. Broadcasting is a highly competitive environment, and you can be sure if your competitor can fuck you up the ass, they will do it if they can get away with it.

Now, having said all that, if there can be some arrangement where stations multiplex on a single channel that is either owned by a non broadcast third party; or through some kind of joint venture where all of the stations being multiplexed are co-equals; then it may work. Otherwise, the scramble for advertiser dollars makes broadcasting a nasty business.

Then again, the FCC could entertain an idea of shutting down all stations in a given metro area, and force the cell phone companies to pay the local cable outfits the cost for supplying basic (formerly "over the air") signals to each household in the metro area. Ya, right, when pigs fly!!!!

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Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Secondly, what ...@ Robert E A Harvey

"and the rest flogged off - to whom exactly?"

That will become apparent with the forthcoming 4G spectrum auctions, but for all practical purposes you've got the big mobile networks as the only obvious bidders, all enthusiastically lobbying for ever increasing chunks of spectrum to be made available. And if that messes up DTTV reception in marginal areas, well, who cares? Certainly not the shameful waste-of-space-and-money that is OFCOM.

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Terminator

just forcing everyone into pay-TV

Since the switch to digital, nobody in rural areas can get antenna (free) TV. Even in populated urban centers, the reception is so spotty that most chanels, most of the time are unwatchable. Forget bad weather.

Pay-TV (cable or satellite) has finally found ways to force everyone to subscribe.

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Silver badge

Re: just forcing everyone into pay-TV

Urban areas were the first to move to cable because broadcast was shit for reception. Too many possibilities for too much steel between you and the source, or other interference.

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