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Thu Jan 14, 2016, 03:52 PM

Your local TV station may have just secretly decided to go off the air

The Switch

Your local TV station may have just secretly decided to go off the air

By Brian Fung January 13

Your over-the-air television channels bring you the news, local weather and entertainment like "NCIS" and "Modern Family." But thanks to a federal deadline Tuesday night, your local TV station may have just kicked off a process that could take it off the air.

Tuesday marked the last day TV stations could sign up for a big auction that's expected to raise billions in revenue for the federal government. What's getting auctioned off? Well, the TV stations' own spectrum — the invisible airwaves the stations use to transmit shows to your home.

The upshot is that once the auction is all over, the TV stations that have decided to sell their spectrum will either change channels, share channels with other TV stations, or go off the air entirely. This could disproportionately affect smaller or minority-owned stations that are struggling financially, because they have the least to lose from agreeing to participate. The bigger stations will need to balance commercial interests with the possibility of a one-time cash windfall. However it shakes out, this could mean a big interruption in your regularly scheduled programming.

So, in short: TV stations sell their spectrum to the government. The government turns around and re-sells that spectrum to other companies, making back what it pays out to the TV stations (and then some, it hopes). The result is a huge transfer of airwaves from one industry to potentially many industries, accelerating the development of future wireless technologies.

See: Howard University Takes Step Toward Sale of Spectrum Rights

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Reply Your local TV station may have just secretly decided to go off the air (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Jan 2016 OP
mahatmakanejeeves Jan 2016 #1
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2016 #2

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 03:29 PM

1. A guide to the FCC spectrum auction

Hat tip: DCRTV.com Mailbag

December 17, 2015

A guide to the FCC spectrum auction

By Dru Sefton

TV channels across the U.S. are in for a shakeup next year. In March, an FCC auction will give broadcasters the chance to sell some or all of their stations’ spectrum, to be snapped up by wireless providers who will use it for their transmissions.

For public TV executives and licensees, deciding whether to take part in this auction involves weighing their public-service missions against the payouts from potentially lucrative deals. And even for stations that don’t take part, the auction could bring technical disruptions and political complications, while some viewers may lose over-the-air public TV signals altogether.

Complicated FCC proceedings can be baffling, so we’ve put together this guide to the spectrum auction that we hope will make it a bit more comprehensible. Did we not answer your question? Or does reading this bring up even more questions? Email us {mailto:[email protected]} and we’ll follow up. Now, let’s get started.

What exactly is the spectrum auction?

Let’s first take on the concept of spectrum. Spectrum is the range of frequencies used to transmit sound, data and video. TVs, radios, cellphones, computers, garage door openers, medical equipment and wireless microphones, among other devices, all use spectrum.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Thu Feb 18, 2016, 01:50 PM

2. A surprise player emerges in the government’s historic auction of airwaves

The Switch

A surprise player emerges in the government’s historic auction of airwaves

By Brian Fung February 9

Venture capital and other investment firms have been positioning themselves to enter a major auction of wireless airwaves this spring that is expected to reshape the nation's communications networks, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. ... At least one local firm, Alexandria-based Columbia Capital, intends to bid on the valuable frequencies used to carry mobile voice and data, said a person with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans are confidential.

The auction of airwaves has been described by federal regulators as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that could bolster an existing wireless network, equip a new entrant to compete with the likes of Verizon Wireless and AT&T, or enable a company to develop next generation wireless technologies. Wednesday evening marks the application deadline for those who want to bid in the auction.

A number of investment companies have been conducting their own analyses on the value of these airwaves in recent months, trying to determine whether they should jump in and how much they should spend. The result could be a bidding war as financial firms jockey with wireless carriers, cable companies and perhaps even some in the tech industry in an intensely competitive land rush for high-value wireless real estate.

Founded by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Columbia Capital has long been a major player in the wireless communications business. In the 1980s, Warner played a pivotal role in helping companies break into the emerging market for cellular service, which required licenses from the Federal Communications Commission. In 1989, he founded Columbia Capital and reaped a fortune as the industry boomed. Warner still has substantial investments in Columbia Capital, according to 2014 financial disclosure forms listed by the Center for Responsive Politics. ... A Warner spokeswoman said: "Sen. Warner has had no role at Columbia Capital, and his investments have been managed by a trustee, since before he became Virginia governor in 2002."

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