The Consumer Electronics Association and CTIA-The Wireless Association say they know how to preserve over-the-air broadcasting, including HD, while freeing up spectrum for wireless broadband. But it will take a radical remake of the current broadcasting system.
In a filing at the FCC on spectrum reclamation, the association pair said it would require rengineering a system that now depends on full-power stations with interference protection that leaves too many channels unused.
Instead, they said, the government could change the current high power-high tower system into a low-power network of multiple transmitters that would allow stations to operate close to each other and free up channels for other uses.
They argued that could free up 100-180 mHz for mobile broadband, while leaving consumer equipment intact and allowing broadcasters to continue to use all of their 19.4 mpbs data stream and 6 mHz channels.
They also said broadcasters should not be asked to cover the cost of such a transition, though they concede there would be some disruption as broadcasters went from one transmitter to a network of them. They claimed, though, that would be balanced against the value of freeing spectrum for other uses.
They projected the cost at between $1.37 billion and $1.83 billion, which they call "well within the realm of reason given the value of the spectrum." That value has been estimated as high as $60 billion.
CEA and CTIA said the proposal was an effort to "spectrum available for important wireless broadband needs while ensuring no disruption for consumers and no injuries to over-the-air fullpower broadcast television capabilities while, at the same time, potentially enabling next-generation TV services, along with next-generation wireless spectrum."