TPI Study Pairs Broadcasting With Paging as 'Dying' Services

Finds Spectrum is Getting Scarce; Suggests Gov't Continue to Reclaim Broadcast Spectrum for Wireless Broadband
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A Technology Policy Institute (TPI) study being released Thursday, "Is There Really a Spectrum Crisis? Quantifying the Factors Affecting Spectrum License Value," concludes that spectrum in the hands of broadcasting, what it labels a "dying service," is of the "least value" in strict economic terms, while that spectrum is most valuable used for wireless broadband.

The study, from institute vice president for research Scott Wallensten, is based on FCC auction data dating back to the mid-1990s and looks strictly at value per megahertz pop, though it does refer to broadcasting as a dying service.

The study recommends that the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration continue to move spectrum to the market and speed secondary spectrum transactions, points also made in a broadband policy guide released by the Internet Innovation Alliance.

"The least valuable are licenses that allow only television broadcasting, followed by licenses that allow only paging," he writes. "These results are sensible -- as services are increasingly all digital and delivered over IP network it makes increasingly less sense to have spectrum devoted to specific [and dying] services."

According to its website, the Institute's supporters include both broadband players -- Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, USTelecom -- and some owners of major broadcast networks and stations that use all that broadcast spectrum -- Disney, NBCU.

Analyzing FCC and other data, Scott concludes that spectrum is becoming increasingly scarce based on a steady increase in value over the past several years.