Doug Lung /
10.01.2009 02:35 PM
Analyst: Broadcast Bankruptcies Could Be Answer to Broadband Spectrum Shortage
You've heard the story before: No one watches TV over-the-air anymore, so why not use the spectrum for something more interesting—perhaps wireless Internet. While this story ignores the significant percentage of people that do watch over-the-air, the question remains: Could the spectrum be better used for something else?

Tom Wheeler, Managing Director, Core Capital Partners, in the article Broadcast Bankruptcies: The Solution to the Spectrum Crunch, notes that Wall Street values Sinclair Broadcasting's 30 stations at less than $300 million and the 100 stations in bankruptcy have no market cap. As a result of the bankruptcies, banks and hedge funds will find themselves owning TV stations. Wheeler suggests these “accidental broadcasters” will look at the $100 billion the wireless industry paid in the last FCC auction and ask “What if...”

Some of the “What if...” scenarios Wheeler offers are combining multiple broadcasters onto one channel (no HDTV) to keep some service to those people still watching over-the-air and sell the rest of the spectrum to a wireless carrier. A simpler approach is leasing bandwidth on the station's digital signal to other services using the ATSC M/H standard. One example would be a “mobile Hulu”.

The “accidental broadcasters” could combine assets to create a nationwide spectrum footprint.

Read Tom Wheeler's article to see how he answers his question: “With television revenues in a freefall and the new digital capacity yet to produce meaningful income, just how long will the hedge funds and international bankers be willing to sit idle and watch as their new asset ponders its future?”

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Posted by: Tom Butts
Fri, 10-02-2009 11:39 AM Report Comment
So the idea is to take away something for free, repackage it into something else, and charge people for it. Sounds like another stupid idea.
Posted by: Tom Butts
Sun, 10-04-2009 10:46 PM Report Comment
The FCC should not have auctioned off the airwaves like that. DTV sucks you lose many channels, there aren't any portable DTV tuners, and the slightest interference such as weather makes it pixelate. And as the government said, the only people who still watch OTA tv are either elderly, don't speak english, or are poor. I'm neither of those. I simply REFUSE to pay over $500 a year to cable and satellite companies for channels I do not watch. If you ask me, the wireless companies can take that mobile broadband of theirs and stick it where the sun never shines. We don't want any, bring back analog tv.
Posted by: Tom Butts
Mon, 10-05-2009 01:49 PM Report Comment
This sounds like another ploy for the FCC to gain more frequencies to make more money at the expense of the viewers and industry. Losing the 700 MHz bands for wireless microphones has jammed up the other frequencies so much that often there is nothing but interference and no place to go. What about the people that live outside the cities that are not currently served by any high speed internet providers and too far from the broader that does not want to have to pay for their 4 or 5 broad networks and nothing else? The FCC no longer is working for the public but for payoffs and high subsidies from the Obama regime. He can pick our TV channels for us.

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