1313 Days Since The Incentive Auction legislation was passed 
180 Days Until The FCC Says Auction Starts
About 1 year until the LPTV and TV translator displacement window opens


Comments were due yesterday about the FCC's Vacant Channel proposal to provide two "free" unlicensed channels nationwide rather than include them in the Incentive Auction bidding.  This is as much as an $18 billion hand-out and payback to the Googleplex, and Silicon Valley investors, who have been big campaign supporters of the Administration.  Many of which were part of the political funds "bundling" which the FCC Chairman did just before assuming his Chairmanship.

NAB lays out the case against the proposal with its' filing into the Proceedings. Says the "spectrum give-away is unlawful."  Goes on to say that the proposal "reverses previous decisions without adequate explanation or a sufficient record."  NAB also make arguments about the dire consequences of the FCC proposal, and that it "confuses the facts."  Good read, interesting data points, and well worth your time to see how the big boys are now seeing how their translators might be affected, and that it is finally the time to be in support of LPTV.

Major LPTV licensee Venture Technologies requests that Class-A stations be repacked ahead of any vacant channel assignment.  They go on to state that the FCC does not have the authority to assign unlicensed over licensed.  Venture also makes the case for the cost of a LPTV or translator station "making a showing" that they have preserved the last channel.  This is a HUGE point in that the FCC wants to place the financial and technical burden on our industry in channel assignments.

Predictably, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association is claiming that the vacant channels are the best thing since sliced bread, is desperately needed to make the TV white space and unlicensed work, and that they are worthy of free spectrum because they are the chosen ones.  What they do not mention is that without these huge government subsidies, they do not have a business model which works, and that nothing they claim can be empirically proven.

Also predictably, the WiFi Alliance claims that without a free giveaway of spectrum manufacturers will not build equipment for use.  Haven't we heard that for over a decade now, that without a huge government subsidy, Silicon Valley investors will simply not build what they say is essential for the digital ecosystem.  The truth is a funny thing for this group, and they and the Googleplex can not show any hard data to back up their claims.  This is why the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) can not score any unlicensed spectrum proposal - because they are all smoke and mirrors, and we think mostly smoke.

And of course the CEA is having an orgasm about the proposal, and actually proposes that LPTV and TV translators do all kinds of new engineering, pay for it, and do it willingly for God and country.  What crap!  Where is the fracking research from CEA about the costs and benefits?  As usual, Gary Shaprio and CEA is blowing a lot of smoke up our collective butts about how great it will be. Hey Gary, not even you can make CBO score unlicensed positively!

The Society of Broadcast Engineers details what is wrong with the proposal,"...the Commission in this proceeding has made a proposal that is at once insufficient to accommodate displaced wireless microphone facilities; inadequate as a means of continuing the service that broadcasters and video production companies have provided to the public for many years which the public expects; and most of all, an untenable spectrum management plan that places unlicensed Part 15 white space devices ahead of licensed broadcast stations and licensed broadcast auxiliary stations in spectrum that is allocated to the broadcast service. That constitutes an unreasoned departure from longstanding Commission policy with respect to unlicensed devices and therefore the Notice proposal is arbitrary and capricious."

New America Foundation and Public Knowledge , the hired lap dogs of the Googleplex, and which we all know are faux public interest groups (who's public?), want all LPTV and TV translators to be eliminated.  I personally will kick the butts of Calabrese and Feld next time I see them at a meeting.  If you want to either get sick (if you are broadcaster), or get a hard-on if you are a official member of the Googleplex, then these are the comments to read.  Remember, these two guys and their organizations are paid by Google to get them as much free spectrum at the public's expense as they can.  The big lie they are attempting to push in their comments is that unlicensed needs three six-MHz channels, beyond the 18-28 MHz they are already getting in the various band plans.  Go ahead Mr. Chairman and follow their advice and that of Gigi Sohn who used to be one of these guys before you hired her as the Goggleplex's inside player in your office.  Ask CTIA if they want to wait another year for this spectrum to be freed up.

Google outdid itself and I bet they are so proud of their "do no evil" LIE to the public. Get prepared for Silicon Valley to stop the auction folks.  Google is DEMANDING that broadcasters pay all kinds of engineering fees to JUSTIFY THEIR OWN FRAKING LICENSED OPERATIONS!!  And this is where the revolving door in DC sucks big time. The Google DC counsel, who used to be the same with the FCC, thinks that they own the spectrum and can tell the rest of us what to do.  You had better follow what they want Mr. Chairman, otherwise you will not get any invites from them after you leave the FCC, and we know how much you like to be in the mix.  There are so many lies in the Google submission we are going to have a special edition just about it.

T-Mobile even gets into it, "The Commission has ample authority to preserve vacant television channels for shared use by white space devices and wireless microphones. Title III of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, "endow[s] the Commission with 'expansive powers,'" including "broad authority to manage spectrum . . . in the public interest."  Hey Legere, what, you swallow a stupid pill?  What you are citing as the FCC's powers mean they can mess over any plans you have also!  Beware, fight with the law, die by the law!

T he National Translator Association is understandably upset, "NTA urges the Commission to understand that there are communities having only one translator or LPTV station; that such stations constitute the broadcast TV lifeblood of such communities, whose residents may, through the loss of a single channel, suffer the effects of the loss of all potential broadcast television to include local and regional weather, news and emergency alerts and that no reservation of any TV channel for an unlicensed user or for any other nonbroadcast purpose should be allowed to foreclose the community's opportunity to receive its last local broadcaster or translator station.

PBS even throws LPTV under the bus , " the Commission adopt PTV's proposal to afford translators that are displaced in the repacking a second-level processing priority over other translator or LPTV displacement applications.18 This treatment is warranted by the unique status that noncommercial educational translators already receive under Commission regulations (e.g., cable carriage rights).  I guess I will now have to ask that all NCE full power licenses be revoked because of the dubious benefit that Downton Abbey has on the population.

Major LPTV operator Mako Communications lays out the best legal argument against the vacant channels, "the Commission's claim to unlimited authority to manage the spectrum under Title III of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, does not give it the right to ignore Congressional legislation."

Sinclair Broadcasting sums it up , "...the Commission's claim to unlimited authority to manage the spectrum under Title III of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, does not give it the right to ignore Congressional legislation. Section 6403(i)(l) states that nothing in Section 6403(b) "shall be construed to ... expand or contract the authority of the Commission, except as otherwise expressly provided."13 However, Sections 6403(b)(5) and 6403(i)(2) do expressly provide to the contrary. If the Commission's interpretation of its unlimited authority were accepted, there would be no need for a Spectrum Act, and the Commission with its "expansive powers" could allocate and assign spectrum as it wished without any limitations. Obviously, that is not what the Spectrum Act intends.

Our own Comments make the case against the proposal because it is based on a faulty set of assumptions by the FCC related to their use of TV DMA's for analysis, rather than "cities of license".  For LPTV and TV translators this difference in research methodologies could mean saving over free, over-the-air independent television in as many as 1200 cities of license, of the more than 2267 which LPTV and TV translators currently operate within.

And all of this because 
is the LAW!



Mike Gravino,  Director
LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition