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Capitol Broadcasting proposes alternative to National Broadband Plan

Capitol Broadcasting president and CEO Jim Goodmon proposed a last-ditch alternative broadband plan to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski last week, arguing that his plan would solve the spectrum crisis while allowing broadcasters to keep their current spectrum.

Goodmon said he told Genachowski that broadcasters could provide an ancillary service in which they would handle distribution of video when wireless broadband providers can’t handle the traffic volume themselves.

The FCC would take a 5 percent cut of the revenues broadcasters would generate by charging Verizon, AT&T and other carriers for the service. Goodmon said the plan would generate billions of dollars for the government on a continuous basis, rather than a one-time auction fee.

In his plan, Goodmon said a wireless broadband provider would have a device with a broadcast chip in it, and when there is a request for a large amount of video at one time, they would hand that request off to the broadcaster, who then downloads it all to the mobile device.

Goodmon said Genachowski “listened politely” to his pitch, but the chairman had no public comment.

The FCC’s National Broadband Plan, Goodmon said, had left out broadcasters, who he termed “the innovators in his industry.” He said he read the plan and “didn’t see any mention of broadcasters. I don’t know why, but when the FCC was talking about innovation, they left out broadcasters. There is no greater innovating group than broadcasters.”

Goodman also pitched his plan to Blair Levin, the chief architect of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan and now a fellow at the Aspen Institute. He said it was an unfair criticism to say there is no broadcasting in the plan when Goodmon is not talking about the use of broadcasting but broadcasting spectrum to solve a broadband problem. That, he said, is discussed in the plan.

“Even if Jim Goodmon’s idea works in the marketplace,” Levin said, “there still may be a significant number of broadcasters in big urban areas who still think it is better to utilize incentive auctions.”

Levin said Goodmon’s plan is no reason to shift gears from the reclamation/auction plan.