Doug Lung /
03.10.2011 03:00 PM
NCTA Refutes NAB Spectrum Hoarding Charges

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) strongly refuted claims by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) that NCTA members were hoarding spectrum.

In a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Commerce and House Energy and Commerce Committee, James Assey stated:

"The NAB's groundless accusation of spectrum hoarding by other licensees does nothing to advance the public debate. NAB's implied suggestion that the government—rather than even consider requiring greater efficiency from the broadcasters—should instead reclaim spectrum purchased at auction for billions of dollars and currently in full compliance with FCC rules, is patently absurd. It marks a desperate attempt to avoid a serious discussion of the responsibilities of broadcasters to promote spectral efficiency and of the broadband needs of consumers and first responders."

Assey explained that it will take years to clear incumbents from the AWS spectrum held by several cable companies. He assumed that the NAB's letter referred to that spectrum, and added that, "Unlike broadcasters, who received their spectrum for free, cable companies have paid billions of dollars at auction and have every incentive to put their investment to work."

Dish Network also rejected NAB's spectrum claims, as described in the article NAB Spectrum Hoarding Claims 'Wrong', says Dish on

In a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Commerce and House Energy and Commerce Committee, Stanton Doge, Dish's general counsel said, "With all due respect, the NAB is wrong."

However, the letter did not respond to the articles NAB attached to its letter with quotes from Dish's CEO Charlie Ergen. NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton, in an e-mailed response to Dish's letter, said, "Verbatim quotes are a stubborn thing. Dish's CEO has admitted to strategically warehousing spectrum for long-term gain."

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Posted by: Brian Smith
Fri, 03-11-2011 06:19 PM Report Comment
The wording of this is interesting the loud denials from the NCTA don't actually indicate that they are using this spectrum as much as they can, but only that they're "in full compliance with FCC rules", which isn't necessarily the same thing. He also states that since the NCTA members paid for the spectrum, they have "every incentive" to use it. Note that neither of those responses refutes the NAB's claim that the spectrum is laying fallow...

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