The Congress Is About To Confiscate 4000 Television Stations
The big wireless companies have lobbied the Congress to confiscate a large amount of broadcast television spectrum (the television airwaves) and auction it to major billion-dollar corporations. Such action will almost certainly destroy as many as two thousand television stations. Most of these stations are small low power television (LPTV) stations that serve local communities across the nation with religious, ethnic, local access, niche, minority and other community-focused programming. This is what federal regulators have referred to as providing “localism.”
To make matters worse, there are no provisions to compensate these stations and their owners for the immense financial losses they will likely suffer. Congress developed this scheme claiming as much as $25 billion may be raised to be used to help balance the U.S. budget and offset trillions of dollars in national debt.
There have been numerous calls for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to first conduct a thorough audit of the spectrum before Congress authorizes the FCC to auction it off. The FCC has steadfastly refused to conduct such an audit. This refusal has taken on greater significance after a September 2011 analysis by Wall Street investment bank Citi found the wireless industry has plenty of spectrum but is using only 25% of what is available to them. Additionally it uses that amount very inefficiently. Citi accused the wireless industry of hoarding spectrum it has no plans to use.
Further, the FCC refuses to disclose the details of its auction plan suggesting it will cause even greater damage to the television broadcast industry than is currently known.
All of this is occurring as the high-power and low-power television broadcast industry is developing new products and services. In fact, the television industry has a broadband plan that maximizes the efficient use of television spectrum, better serves the public by providing communities with more options for broadband service, creates thousands of new jobs and creates a continuous revenue stream to the U.S. Treasury which will raise $50-100 billion or more over the next 15 years to pay down the debt. Most importantly, this plan will not damage the local television industry.
Who should I call?
- Call your own U.S. Representative and Senator - and be polite and respectful.
- Inform them of what is happening and urge them to to protect ALL broadcast television stations including LPTV stations.
- Get your friends to call their Representatives and Senators.
- Call the White House.
What do I say when I call?
Here are the points you should make:
- I am a constituent and I am calling about The Payroll Tax Bill which includes spectrum actions. Current language in the bill does not protect ALL LPTV broadcasters. Please include language to provide protection for all television stations, including LPTV and translators.
- Television broadcast stations (broadcasters) have a plan that will raise billions for deficit reduction, create jobs, create competition and provide wireless internet to millions without destroying free local television. I want you to adopt that plan before you hand the airwaves over to the big wireless companies.