The spectrum is kind of a funny concept if you think about it. It’s the range of invisible light that communicates broadcast information. This spectrum, as you know, is constantly going through changes by regulation and market demands. It is a prime limited resource, now in the digital age.
Just like any other issue in Washington, there is a wide range of suggestions on how to use it. Just recently, a bill was passed by the house to allow the FCC to hold auctions giving broadcasters and satellite providers the opportunity give up spectrum for a portion of the proceeds. The ultimate goal is to free up the spectrum for mobile broadband providers.
Of course there are two sides to this argument. On one hand, President of the NAB George Smith wrote to the debt deficit committee, “Citigroup’s analysis suggests that spectrum crisis claims that have been manufactured by the wireless and consumer electronics industries — and advanced by the FCC — simply do not withstand scrutiny.”
The other side, as you’ve probably already guessed, is comprised of the wireless companies – among – who are urging congress to consider preserving unlicensed airwaves for so-called “Super Wi-Fi”. According to proponents, such an enactment could spur technological innovation and further streamline communications.
Already existing technological advances continue to personalize and change the way we consume media. For example: Comcast, who just introduced a new channel bundling system. It’s far from “a la carte” television programming, but it is definitely a step toward further consumer freedom.
The cable company along with Time Warner launched TV Everywhere earlier this spring, a service which allows users to watch video via IPTV or broadband. And according to Parks Associates, 15-30 percent of American and Western European broadband subscribers are willing to pay for such a service. “Netflix Instant [has] a major impact on TV viewing trends, with 22 percent of all broadband households using this service,” says Parks Associates Director of Research, John Barnett. In related news, Netflix now owns the right to stream all shows airing on CW – adding to a growing library of content.
Legislation on the spectrum is now in the hands of the infamous Senate super-committee – the “Gang of 12” – and is expected to pass with bipartisan support. Whether or not this spectrum bill passes, the way we consume media will continue to change. The passing of this bill will merely help dictate rate of change.