There are no items on the agenda for next week’s FCC meeting from the Media Bureau, so one might think that the "broadcast" community could ignore this meeting. However, there is one matter that will be considered that may well have an effect on the media landscape for the foreseeable future. That is the adoption of service rules for the 700 MHz spectrum – the remaining portion of the spectrum to be reclaimed from television broadcasters after the digital transition. Part of that spectrum has already been reclaimed and is beginning to be used by companies such as Qualcomm offering digital multimedia services such as the MediaFLO system, about which we have written before. The remaining portion of the spectrum that will be auctioned by the Commission by January 2008 and has the potential to provide significant high-speed digital wireless services to the public. However, anyone reading the communications press would realize that there is a major controversy over how that service will be provided.
The argument is over whether service will be provided on the new spectrum in an open manner – in essence a wireless high speed connection to the Internet where any service can get direct access to the consumer – or whether it will function more like the current systems run by the existing wireless carriers, where the carriers will be able to control the content that will be delivered to the consumer. This is, by no means an easy decision, and it is currently being debated in Congress and at the FCC.
Continue Reading The 700 Mhz Controversy – Fighting Over the Reclaimed TV Spectrum