Blog posts tagged with 'Broadcasters'
Friday, January 18
As part of its effort to free up more airwaves for wireless use, the FCC has launched a new website with information for broadcasters on the upcoming spectrum incentive auctions. Check it out.
Wednesday, November 14
Speaking of incentive auctions, yesterday FCC Commission Jessica Rosenworcel spoke at a conference and laid out her vision for how the auctions should proceed. The National Journal‘s Juliana Gruenwald once again reports:
Rosenworcel, a Democrat who joined the five-member commission in May, outlined the proposal during a conference that examined spectrum policy over the next decade. She noted that meeting the nation’s spectrum needs will require a variety of approaches, including effective implementation of the incentive auction process by the FCC, technological solutions, and spectrum sharing.
She also echoed calls for federal agencies to give up more of their spectrum to commercial wireless providers. Noting that government agencies are understandably reluctant to surrender a network or communications system once it’s in place, she suggested giving agencies an incentive by offering them a share of the proceeds from the auction of the federal spectrum.
The National Journal‘s Juliana Gruenwald reports that with the FCC’s incentive auctions gearing up, a group of broadcasters has banded together to work with the Commission:
The Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition will press to obtain the best conditions for broadcasters as the FCC implements legislation passed in February that authorizes the use of incentive auctions to free up TV stations’ spectrum for use by wireless broadband providers.
According to John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable, the FCC’s chief is down with the idea:
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski Tuesday gave an “open, transparent and data-driven” shout-out to the new Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition, which is being organized by former broadcast exec and one time Association for Independent Television Stations president Preston Padden.
“Incentive auctions will offer significant opportunities for broadcasters—both those that will take advantage of a once in a lifetime financial opportunity, and those that will choose to continue to be a part of a healthy and diverse broadcast marketplace,” said the chairman in response to the creation of the coalition. “I welcome the participation of the new Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition in our rulemaking process as the Commission engages all stakeholders in a manner that is open, transparent and data-driven.”
Monday, November 05
Over at The Hill, Jennifer Martinez reports that when it comes freeing up more spectrum for wireless use, at least one FCC Commissioner says the FCC is all in on voluntary spectrum auctions:
Mignon Clyburn, a Democratic commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), expressed confidence in the agency’s ability to execute its ambitious plan to off auction television stations’ airwave licenses to cellular service providers during a C-SPAN interview.
“We have no plan B, there’s a plan A. We’re doing all that we can to make sure that there are market synergies, that there are market forces, that there are market opportunities that both the buyers and sellers can take advantage of,” Clyburn said during a taping of C-SPAN’s “The Communicators” program that will air Saturday.
Friday, October 05
At the National Journal, Juliana Gruenwald reports a former FCC bigwig has a new gig:
Just months after leaving the Federal Communications Commission, Rick Kaplan has been hired by the National Association of Broadcasters.
Kaplan will be joining NAB as its executive vice president for strategic planning, a new post that will be charged with overseeing spectrum and innovation policies. He held several posts since joining the FCC in 2009 but most recently served as chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.
Friday, September 07
Some big news on the spectrum front today, as Todd Shields of Bloomberg reports:
A U.S. agency today will propose acting as the sole buyer for airwaves that television stations will surrender for an auction of spectrum to mobile providers led by Verizon Wireless, two officials said.
The idea is among several being advanced by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski for the auction planned for 2014, said the agency officials, who spoke yesterday on condition of not being identified because the matter hasn’t been made public.
As for the FCC’s plan to purchase airwaves, Shields writes:
The FCC plans to buy airwaves that some TV stations will voluntarily relinquish in a process known as a reverse auction. It would then sell the frequencies in a traditional auction. The FCC will seek public comment before it settles next year on rules for the auction, the officials said.
Meanwhile, at The HIll, Brendan Sasso has more:
A senior FCC official explained that the commission is aiming for an aggressive 2014 deadline because it plans to buy back the spectrum and hold the auctions almost simultaneously.
The official noted that no country has attempted such a spectrum buy back and auction before, but he emphasized that the commission is being advised by “world-famous” experts in economics and engineering.
Both Shields and Sasso report CTIA is “very pleased” that the process is beginning, but it’s still unknown how many TV stations — if any — will be willing to offer up their spectrum for sale. The FCC is expected to vote on the proposal sometime this month. Stay tuned…
Monday, June 11
In yet another example of just how big streaming video has become, The Hill‘s Brendan Sasso reports the major networks have agreed to bring their content rating system to online content:
ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo, Telefutara and Univision agreed to begin displaying the rating information on their websites by December.
The ratings, which range from TV-Y for “all children” to TV-MA for “mature audiences only,” typically appear in a black box in the first few seconds of an episode.
As Sasso notes, over 60 percent of kids watch shows away from the TV.
Monday, June 04
Over at Broadcasting & Cable, John Eggerton reports the FCC has released its agenda and participants for its June 25 workshop on spectrum incentive auctions:
Panelists for the workshop are Jane Mago from the National Association of Broadcasters, Patricia Tikkala from Sprint Nextel, Brett Haan from Deloitte Consulting, and Jay Adrick from Harris Corp.
The FCC’s full agenda can be found on its website (PDF).
Friday, March 02
In the latest battle between traditional content providers and the Internet, a streaming video startup has quickly hit a major roadblock. As paidContent’s Jeff Roberts reports:
Two weeks ago, media mogul Barry Diller announced an ambitious cloud-based TV service that streams over-the-air channels to internet devices for $12 a month. This week, broadcasters offered their opinion in the form of a lawsuit that seeks to shut off the service which is set to go live on March 14.
Fox, Univision and PBS filed a complaint in Manhattan federal court that claims Aereo infringes their copyright and that the upstart’s technology fails to qualify for a legal loophole.
Aereo works by taking over the air signals that are free to everyone and retransmitting them to individual “dime-sized antennas” that let consumers watch the content on internet devices.
With more and more people viewing video online — and cutting their cable cords in the process — there are sure to be a lot more scrimmages like this in the future.
Wednesday, November 30
Yesterday, Rep. Greg Walden announced a draft bill aimed at easing America’s looming spectrum crunch. He also took to the pages of The Hill with an op-ed breaking down the benefits of his bill:
The JOBS Act will advance wireless broadband service, spur billions of dollars in private investment, create thousands of jobs, help bring interoperable broadband communications to public safety officials, and reduce the deficit by approximately $15 billion.
The amount of data delivered over wireless networks alone last year was three times higher than the traffic on the entire Internet in 2000. And as American consumers’ demand for wireless Internet grows with the expansion of smartphones and tablets, so does the need for more broadband.
The JOBS Act provides additional broadband spectrum and authorizes the Federal Communications Commission to conduct incentive auctions. Incentive auctions give the FCC the flexibility to promote more efficient use of spectrum by sharing a portion of auction proceeds with current licensees that are willing to return their licenses to the Commission for re-auction.
Rep. Walden’s full op-ed is worth checking out.
Tuesday, November 29
Via Brendan Sasso from The Hill, House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology chairman Rep. Greg Walden has put together a new bill aimed at tackling America’s looming spectrum crunch:
Walden’s bill includes incentive auctions of broadcast spectrum and allocates the D-block of spectrum to public safety agencies.
Under the auction plan, the Federal Communications Commission would sell off spectrum that currently belongs to television broadcasters, splitting some of the revenue with the stations that choose to participate.
The spectrum is potentially worth billions of dollars to wireless carriers, which are struggling to meet the growing data demands of smartphones and tablet computers.
According to Rep. Walden, the bill has the potential to create thousands of jobs and cut the deficit by $15 billion.
Tuesday, April 12
On the same day the House Communications subcommittee is holding a hearing on D-Block spectrum and public safety, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski made the case for voluntary incentive spectrum auctions before attendees at the National Association of Broadcasters Conference in Las Vegas. From the speech:
[V]oluntary inventive auctions are the right solution. It will raise billions of dollars for the Treasury — with serious projections of near $30 billion — that can be put toward deficit reduction and other important uses, like public safety, R&D and broadband connectivity in rural areas.
It will generate benefits to our economy and society an order of magnitude of 10 times that amount.
And it will increase the value of the spectrum for all stakeholders — including broadcasters — by ensuring the spectrum is released in a way that maximizes its marketability and reduces transaction costs and other inefficiencies.
In short, it’s a win-win for broadband and broadcasters.
Chairman Genachowski’s full speech is available at the FCC website.
Monday, March 28
A couple of items pertaining to the “oxygen of the wireless world.” First up, John Eggerton at Broadcasting & Cable reports that the National Association of Broadcasters has received an extension to comment on the FCC’s plan for wireless broadband to share TV spectrum:
NAB also pointed out that April 18 was only a couple of business days after its annual convention (April 11-14 in Las Vegas), where broadcasters, their attorneys and public interest representatives (who will also likely be weighing in on the spectrum proposal) would be otherwise occupied.
“Given the importance of the issues in this proceeding and in the interest of encouraging public dialogue regarding these issues…we believe that granting NAB’s request is necessary to facilitate the development of a full record,” the FCC said in approving the extension.
Next, Network World’s Tim Greene offers an interesting peek at efforts by Microsoft to better identify available spectrum:
Microsoft researchers have designed a scheme for measuring whether licensed radio frequencies are actually being used so unlicensed devices can use it, something that may become necessary as demand for wireless applications grows.
The architecture, called SpecNet, would sense and map where spectrum is being used and more particularly where it’s not—so-called white spaces, according to a paper being presented next week at the USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation in Cambridge, Mass.
Tuesday, March 22
In the ongoing war of words between broadcasters and the wireless industry over spectrum allocation (quick recap: wireless industry says they need more spectrum to keep up with demand for mobile broadband; broadcasters say they don’t have much spectrum to share and that wireless industry is hoarding unused airwaves), FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has come down on the side of wireless providers. Reports Joan Engebretson from Connected Planet:
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski took the opportunity to dispute broadcasters’ claims at a Mobile Future Forum event last week.
“Multiple expert sources expect that by 2014, demand for mobile broadband, and the spectrum to fuel it, will be 35 times the levels it was in 2009,” said Genachowski. “This compares to spectrum coming on line for mobile broadband that represents less than a three times increase in capacity. The looming spectrum shortage is real—and it is the alleged hoarding that is illusory.”
Thursday, March 03
So far, most of the talk about freeing up more spectrum for wireless broadband has centered around airwaves currently owned by broadcasters. But the government currently controls a substantial amount of spectrum as well, and as Juliana Gruenwald of the National Journal reports, there’s new movement on Capitol Hill to make sure that spectrum is being put to the best possible use:
Two key lawmakers on the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday introduced legislation aimed at modernizing the nation’s management and planning of how it uses the increasingly scarce resource of spectrum.
The growing popularity of wireless broadband services is putting more pressure on regulators to free up more spectrum. Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass, chairman of the Commerce Communications Subcommittee, and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, say their bill, a revised version of one they offered in the 111th Congress, is aimed at providing for the more efficient use of the nation’s spectrum.
Tuesday, March 01
Via Sara Jerome of The Hill, the House Energy and Commerce Communications subcommittee is scheduled to have a hearing on spectrum allocation next Thursday.
Thursday, February 24
With use of mobile broadband expected to grow at an astonishing clip in the coming years, freeing up spectrum is a pressing concern for both Congress and the Obama administration. But as the National Journal’s Juliana Gruenwald reports, some believe the plan for broadcasters — who own a sizable chunk of valuable spectrum — to voluntary give up spectrum for auction won’t get many takers:
During a forum sponsored by the Wireless Innovation Alliance on ways to expand the availability of spectrum, Phil Weiser, the National Economic Council’s senior adviser for technology and innovation, said broadcasters’ top concern with the incentive auction proposal is not how much money they would get from the proposal but the process that will be used for relocating broadcasters who choose to give up some spectrum.
“Most are not going to participate,” Weiser said. “Most don’t need to participate for it to be a win.”
Given that mobile broadband is a major component of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan — a plan soundly endorsed by President Obama — the differences over spectrum allocation could easily turn into a major fight. Stay tuned…
Tuesday, January 18
With a looming spectrum crisis, one of the major hurdles FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has to make is convincing America’s broadcasters to give up the wireless oxygen necessary to keep up with innovation and demand outside of broadcast TV. So far, broadcasters have been cool to the idea, and as Sara Jerome of The Hill reports, they have a lot of power:
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President Gary Shapiro said the political might of the broadcasters “terrifies” members of Congress and will allow them to mount a battle over spectrum issues during this session of Congress.
“Certainly, the broadcasters are a phenomenal political lobby and they have terrified members of Congress with their ability to use their broadcast signal in a way that demonizes the members,” Shapiro said on an episode of C-SPAN’s “Communicators” that aired Saturday.
Chairman Genachowski has proposed auctions for spectrum, with the broadcasters and the government each receiving a share. How that share breaks down is still up in the air, however, and Shapiro believes the broadcasters will be fighting for a major chunk. Stay tuned…
Friday, November 12
Via Connected Planet, broadcast network FOX has joined ABC, NBC, and CBS — also known as the “Big 3” — in blocking their content from Google TV.
Meanwhile, as Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica reports, Google is trying to calm the fears of broadcasters and cable providers, who worry that the potential popularity of Google’s Internet cozy TVs could lead to a flock of consumers dropping cable — and the end of traditional business models:
Cord-cutting is simply “not happening,” Google TV lead Rishi Chandra said at the NewTeeVee Live conference on Thursday. He added that the Google TV is meant to help users access the content that they already watch the traditional way, and that cable TV already does a “pretty good job of delivering content to users.”
Wednesday, April 14
While broadcasters battle the FCC over giving up valuable spectrum for the wireless industry, twelve major broadcast groups — including FOX, NBC, and Telemundo — have announced they’re getting into the mobile content service. From the official press release announcing the project:
By aggregating existing broadcast spectrum from its launch partners, the new venture will have the capacity to offer a breadth of mobile video and print content to nearly 150 million U.S. residents. In addition to broadcast spectrum, the partners will commit content, marketing resources and capital to the new venture. The service will employ ATSC-M/H, an open broadcast transmission system developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) specifically for mobile devices.
The venture is designed to complement the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) National Broadband Initiative by giving consumers mobile access to video content while reducing congestion of the nation’s wireless broadband infrastructure. In addition, the service’s mobile content network will have the capacity to deliver local and national time-sensitive emergency information to citizens across the U.S.
This appears to be a shrewd move, allowing broadcasters to hang on to their spectrum while potentially making billions in the process.