Delivering the keynote address Tuesday at the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas, NAB CEO Gordon Smith spoke strongly about protecting broadcasters’ spectrum, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“We are in full battle mode to protect broadcasters from being forced to give up spectrum involuntarily,” Smith told conference attendees.
Smith encouraged broadcasters to keep close tabs on their spectrum inventory, warning that wireless carriers “have determined that is it cheaper to buy our TV channels at auction than to build out their networks.”
To illustrate his point, he talked about the AT&T/T-Mobile merger: "Corporate executives stated that one of the greatest benefits of the proposed merge is that AT&T’s network capacity would double by adding T-Mobile’s already built towers in urban areas. Moreover, recent press reports indicate that certain companies licensed to provide mobile broadband service are simply not making the necessary investments to deploy their service, but instead are sitting on more than $15 billion of spectrum they aren’t using.”
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski also spoke at the conference, warning against delaying spectrum auctions. He said $30 billion may be raised by auctioning spectrum.
“The cost of delay would be severe,” Genachowski said. “At last year’s NAB, I spoke about how demand for spectrum was dramatically outstripping supply driven by smartphones, which places a demand on spectrum that is 24 times as much as feature phones. This year, analysts expect 55 million tablets to be sold, and those tablets place a demand on spectrum that is 120 times that of old feature phones.”