Consumer Electronics Association President/CEO Gary Shapiro says TV broadcasters are hogging spectrum they received for free, and it’s time to use that spectrum for broadband deployment. He offered some contentious language to describe the recent lobbying by his counterparts across the Potomac at the NAB.
In an op-ed published by the Huffington Post, Shapiro — whose trade association represents wireless companies and other industries that would benefit from the FCC’s broadband rollout proposals — characterizes television broadcasting as increasingly irrelevant in an Internet age, when most viewers receive their video from satellite, cable and other pay services, rather than from local TV stations.
“Broadcasting is an important part of our past and it has its niche, including new services like mobile TV being driven by innovative equipment manufacturers. But we need to focus on the future and not preserve legacy business models or government grants of monopoly,” Shapiro writes.
The consumer electronics trade group leader says in response to an increasingly threatened business model, broadcasters responded by hiring “a well-connected former politician as their spokesperson,” and jamming “every tried-and-true political hot button and pressure all their Beltway connections in a desperate attempt to preserve the status quo.”
He continues: “As for talking points, they claim that if their entitlement is threatened, kids will be deluged with porn, national security will be imperiled and senior citizens will be abandoned,” taking out of context elements discussed in the spring show opening speech by National Association of Broadcasters President/CEO Gordon Smith.
Shapiro supports the spectrum auction and sharing proposals in the broadband plan, saying, “The nation’s broadcasters use only a portion of the hundreds of megahertz of high-quality spectrum that we let them use for free. Reallocating some of that spectrum for broadband services would allow over-the-air TV to continue while still solving our wireless crisis.”