WHEN IS ENOUGH, ENOUGH...
A funny thing happened on the way to the Incentive Spectrum Auction. The LPTV industry woke up, realized that while only 5% (400 or stations) of it was going to get a huge potential payday, that was no reason for the abused 95% (the rest of us) to stay upset about not being auction eligible. And here is why:
1) Since those 400+ Class-A's are in line to receive as much as $65 billion in opening bids, and more than $5 billion in closing bids, there is a lot of possibility thinking now going on by and with the Class-A spectrum holders. Now sure, there are some big boys involved, like the largest hedge fund, but let's forget them for the moment. I am talking about the literally 100's of mom/pop operations which are in line for that payday.
2) Since those same Class-A licensees also have a lot of licensed LPTV and new construction permits, it only stands to reason that after the auction, the LPTV service could see the single largest capitalization it has ever seen, maybe as high as $500 million or more, and possibly much more (the religious broadcasters will not be paying taxes in most cases, so we expect them to reinvest in their TV outreach again).
3) Since LPTV have the "right of displacement", and the "expectation of renewal", they literally have the right to come back into whatever spectrum is left and re-homestead it. And they have the right to do this ahead of any unlicensed and TV white space users. So much so, that our Coalition predicts that the unlicensed industry will be stopped cold in its tracks for over a decade in its' quest for low-band spectrum. Any attempt to put unlicensed users ahead of LPTV will result in a court case, and a long delay in the auction, I guarantee that, for sure, Scouts' honor, swear with my little pinky I do.
4) The outfall from this will be a huge potential economic drain on the economy, if you are to believe the consumer electronics industry, and the mobile telecommunications industry. They predict that the unlicensed economy could suffer to the tune of almost $100 billion a year if they do not get adequate low-band spectrum to freely use. And quite honestly, our Coalition agrees with them. We are also heavy users of wifi, and other unlicensed services, so we understand.
5) But the rules are the rules, and the law is the law. Since Congress did not want LPTV in the auction, even though 90% of the spectrum which the national band bidders comes from LPTV and TV translator occupied and permitted spectrum, and the FCC did not choose to study the effects of the legislation with LPTV as a factor, oh well, our economy is stuck with a broken model going forward.
6) The $65-$100 billion to be generated in the auction, before expenses and payouts to the auction eligible broadcasters pales in comparison to the on-going loss to the economy by LPTV claiming its' rights, and having a windfall of potential investment capital from its' Class-A ranks. So good-bye TV white space industry, and see ya later dreams of low-band unlicensed nirvana, LPTV post auction will have its rights, and the capex and opex to do what it needs and wants. (cue optimistic bumper)
7) Sprinkle in a big time change over to ATSC 3.0, double our throughput to 40 Mbit/sec, and put the power of the tower to the edge of the contour with single frequency networks, and voila, the thousands of us remaining and surviving this lengthy ordeal will be so strong and entrenched, and legally well funded, that any further attempt to do harm to LPTV will not be tolerated.
8) Then again, the Google-plex and the advocates of unlicensed uses (hello CEA, an hello members of Congress), well you can come over to the dark side and support a buy-out of LPTV spectrum for the good of the economy (do it before the auction and you get it for little, do it after the auction and the price goes way way way, did I say, way up). As they say, anything is for sale, for a price. Want to see what the currently licensed and legally permitted LPTV (LD& LP), Translators, and Class-A's look like, in a never seen before national map of coverage areas? Check it out below and weep. Or if you are a spectrum speculator, salivate, drool, and email us today!
7) If the Incentive Spectrum Auction is estimating settling bid pricing of $6.5 billion on 5% (400+) of us, well the number is way to big for my little low power brain to calculate, not. LPTV and TV translator spectrum is worth, what, as much as $130 BILLION, and that is before Preston and the EOBC take the FCC to court over the pop vs interference weighting, and the pre and post AWS auction pricing use. Go EOBC Go!
So you see, LPTV has pivoted folks. Let's get this damn auction done as soon as possible, so that a well funded LPTV industry with ATSC 3.0 can kick some unlicensed butt back into the Valley.
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger."