CTIA, broadcasters wrangle over spectrum

The CTIA renewed its call for the FCC to allocate more spectrum for wireless broadband, and criticized TV broadcasters, making it clear that it considers the spectrum broadcasters currently hold as a prime target for reallocation.

"Any spectrum usage below 3GHz that has not been licensed in an exclusive, flexible fashion for commercial wireless service should be investigated for potential broadband usage," CTIA wrote in reply comments to the FCC about the agency's national broadband plan. Previously, CTIA asked the FCC to make up to 800 MHz of additional licensed spectrum available for wireless companies. 

CTIA also said the FCC should look to reallocate spectrum bands that are adjacent to those used for mobile data services today, and that to take advantage of LTE and WiMAX technologies these bands should be bigger than the 5 MHz to 10 MHz blocks that are currently used. 

The trade group also criticized TV broadcasters, which it said can do a better job of managing spectrum more efficiently. "Recent media reports make clear that broadcasters must hold on to unused and underutilized spectrum only to profit from mobile TV and multicasting--not to ensure the public receives free over the air programming," CTIA said in its comments.  

Meanwhile, the broadcasting lobby has defended itself, telling the FCC that it is efficiently using its spectrum. A group of local broadcasters sent their own comments to the FCC, and said that arguments for reallocating spectrum from broadcasters to wireless are "anti-competitive or otherwise meritless."

"Consumers value video programming more highly than any other content, and a reallocation of broadcast spectrum could conveniently eliminate the wireless industry's most serious competitive threat--Mobile DTV," the broadcasters wrote. "Indeed, a spectrum reallocation from television to wireless broadband would amount to the commission picking industry winners and losers, denying the public the "triple play" of HD, multicast, and mobile while permanently locking broadcasters into a 20th century service."

For more:
- see this IDG News Service article
- see this Multichannel News article

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