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FCC considers plan for analog television spectrum

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 10 Jul 2007 9:57 User comments (17)

FCC considers plan for analog television spectrum Within weeks, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to set conditions for the auction of the most valuable wireless spectrum still available in the U.S.
The spectrum, in the 700-MHz band, is highly coveted by a range of broadband providers, technology vendors and wireless voice providers because such signals are able to broadcast long distances and penetrate buildings and other obstacles. With no other auctions of large spectrum blocks on the horizon, many organizations have pitched a range of conflicting ideas and auction conditions to the FCC.

In early 2006, after more than a decade of debate, Congress voted to require television stations to move to digital broadcasts and abandon the 700-MHz band between channels 51 and 69 by Feb. 17, 2009.

The move to digital television, or DTV, will free up about 84 MHz of spectrum, with 24 MHz set aside for public safety. The remaining 60 MHz is set to be auctioned by early 2008.

Advocacy groups such as Public Knowledge and Consumers Union say the auction represents the best and last opportunity for large portions of the U.S. to have a third broadband provider that competes with the cable and telecom giants. These groups are asking the FCC to require that part of the auctioned spectrum be sold with so-called open-access rules attached, meaning the winner of the auction would have to sell wholesale access to the network to any company that wants it.

Leading the charge for open-access rules are a group of consumer and advocacy organizations, including Public Knowledge, Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America. The Ad Hoc Public Interest Spectrum Coalition has asked the FCC to include open-access rules with 30 MHz of the auctioned spectrum.

The FCC should act "both to ensure that new spectrum is offered on an open and nondiscriminatory basis and to bring in new entrants interested in challenging the current cozy wireless oligopoly and broadband duopoly," the coalition wrote in comments to the FCC. "The 700 MHz auctions will not give birth to the much anticipated third pipe if the licenses are auctioned to the very same ... telephone and cable incumbents that dominate the wireline market."

Source: ComputerWorld

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17 user comments

110.7.2007 10:50

they are speaking chinese

210.7.2007 16:14

It comes down to a limited number of slots being available in the 700-MHz band,which are used by broadcast TV channels 51-69,since they are pushing to put everythign on Hdef TV.

I belive this frees up the "air waves" to be used for wireless devices,I could be wrong, anyone smarter want to add to it?

310.7.2007 16:54

The really important thing about these frequencies is how low they are. Lower frequencies lose less amplitude when traveling through obstructions, meaning they're more reliable for WANs.

410.7.2007 17:06

So, could these freed up frequencies be used to put into place a more reliable, highly accessable form of wireless internet access across the USA? How about like, cell phone towers?

510.7.2007 17:21

they said 24MHz is now free for public safty, i would think that would include things like police radios and things like that?

610.7.2007 17:33

Originally posted by Moomoo2:
So, could these freed up frequencies be used to put into place a more reliable, highly accessable form of wireless internet access across the USA? How about like, cell phone towers?

Keep in mind, in order to use phone towers you'd have to pay for it. The open-access advocates want the FCC to require whoever buys the frequencies to allow access to anyone who can pay for it, unlike cable lines that don't have to be accessible to anyone but the cable franchise or DSL connections that don't have to be available for any internet provider except the phone company that owns the lines. Open access basically means allowing new players to come in without having to build their own infrastructure.

710.7.2007 17:33

Originally posted by bullet159:
they said 24MHz is now free for public safty, i would think that would include things like police radios and things like that?

Yes.

810.7.2007 17:46
webe123
Inactive

What I cannot understand is how they can FORCE this "no more free TV channels" upon consumers and have no one fight back?

I mean...getting rid of "free TV" seems to me to be like giving a "legal monoply" of sorts to cable and sattelite companies that CHARGE customers access to just watch stupid TV!

In the future...everything is going to have a price if this keeps up.

910.7.2007 17:54

This has nothing to do with whether TV is free. The frequencies aren't going to be used because the law mandates that they be replaced by digital signals. Since those digital signals are being implemented before the analog channels are gone they use different frequencies. That means when they stations go all digital they won't be using the current analog frequencies any more.

1010.7.2007 20:37

Originally posted by webe123:
What I cannot understand is how they can FORCE this "no more free TV channels" upon consumers and have no one fight back?
I don't know about you but "free" TV where I have always lived (and I have lived many different places) has always meant 2 or 3 channels that you could barely see or hear through the bad reception--even with good old rabbit ears.

1110.7.2007 21:48

These frequencies are valuable because they travel through objects quite well. Cell phone signals do not do that because they are at a higher frequency. This would be a great wavelength to create a high speed internet connection on, because it would work in peoples homes, and apartments. It would be a great solution to the WiFi projects some citys and towns have implemented, and conquer the problem of the WiFi not traveling into peoples homes well.

1211.7.2007 16:44
WierdName
Inactive

CUT THE SPANISH CHANNEL! Do many people watch it that much anyways?

1311.7.2007 17:41

Originally posted by WierdName:
CUT THE SPANISH CHANNEL! Do many people watch it that much anyways?
you forget my friend of all the nationalist pride in the "New Mexican" workers movement thats sweeping the nation :P

1411.7.2007 20:11
WierdName
Inactive

Quote:
Originally posted by WierdName:
CUT THE SPANISH CHANNEL! Do many people watch it that much anyways?
you forget my friend of all the nationalist pride in the "New Mexican" workers movement thats sweeping the nation :P
Sorry, no hobla englis. ?hobla espenual(or whatever it is)?

1511.7.2007 20:17

Quote:
[quote]
Originally posted by WierdName:
CUT THE SPANISH CHANNEL! Do many people watch it that much anyways?
you forget my friend of all the nationalist pride in the "New Mexican" workers movement thats sweeping the nation :P
Sorry, no hobla englis. ?hobla espenual(or whatever it is)?[/quote]Mmm I speak zippy and can never remember what it is I am saying so meh :P
(what I said was it seems half the illegal workers coming in don't want to learn english and love their old country more)

1611.7.2007 20:21
WierdName
Inactive

Ya, that's why I said "?hobla espenual?" Cuz its like none of them even try to learn to speak english. They just expect everyone else to learn spanish so they can understand them.

1717.7.2007 1:30

Originally posted by lxfactor:
they are speaking chinese
Im glad im not the only one that could not make heads or tails out of this article.

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