(Washington, DC) — Following today’s Federal Communications Commission vote to release digital spectrum to the Nation’s television broadcasters for free, Glenn Davidson, Executive Vice President of CCIA made the following statement:
“This is bad policy. Not only does it cheat American taxpayers by giving away a prime and finite natural resource to businesses, it will place computer and communications companies at a competitive disadvantage with broadcasters in the provision of information-based services. Thanks to advanced technology, the full 6-megahertz (MHz) of spectrum will not be needed for digital television. If broadcasters choose to use the leftover digital bandwidth, they will have the capability to offer services currently on the market by information technology companies without the traditional business expense of upgrading infrastructure for a new venture.
“The policy is also inconsistent with congressional calls for getting rid of corporate welfare. The spectrum give-away is equivalent to handing out billions of trees for free to newspaper publishers for use in producing newsprint, on the grounds that the news they provide is a public service that deserves taxpayer support.
“This is why CCIA has endorsed Senator John McCain’s bill, the “Law Enforcement and Public Safety Telecommunications Empowerment Act” which would block the spectrum give-away and force auctions for the valuable digital spectrum. The proposal is clearly a win-win. Auctions have the potential of generating billions of dollars for the federal treasury while continuing to pave the way for digital-quality television broadcasts and the convergence of the television set and the personal computer.
“Do not confuse our stand against the spectrum give-away as a stand against digital television or against broadcasters which may compete against companies in our industry. Ours is a stand for fairness to the American taxpayer, as well as fairness within the business community.”