[opendtv] Re: 20050509 Mark's Monday Memo

  • From: Tom Barry <trbarry@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 08:55:07 -0400

The government could probably create a spectrum market fairly 
quickly simply by leasing all spectrum to the highest bidders 
instead of selling or "loaning" it.  Lease cost could be adjusted 
periodically based upon market forces, with staggered lease 
expirations.  The government wouldn't have to actually run the any 
spectrum utility, simply ensure that no one could just squat on 
the spectrum by making that squat too expensive.

But I'm not sure the spectrum would be considered worth as much if 
you didn't get to be a permanent gatekeeper. (mixed blessing)

- Tom

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

> At 3:38 PM -0400 5/23/05, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
>>Yes, there might be times where a simulcast makes
>>sense, but hopefully not at the expense of the main
>>signal. For example, service to mobile handheld devices
>>to cover the entire market area might be quite
>>inefficient if the normal DTT transmitter(s) are used,
>>but might be better handled by a cell service.
> Your response shows your bias in terms of the way the DTV 
> infrastructure should be operated.
> In my example, the content provider is paying fees for carriage of 
> specific services. I am assuming that a spectrum utility is operating 
> that infrastructure, and that they can segment the services in 
> whatever way makes the most sense on an instantaneous basis, just as 
> DirecTV and Echostar do today. With these services you do not tune to 
> a specific satellite and transponder for HGTV; that channel may move 
> from one transponder to another based on the desires of the operator 
> - virtual channel tables are used to direct a receiver to HGTV, 
> wherever it is currently being mapped to the system.
> The need to cripple an HDTV service to make room for other channels 
> in a multiplex is a uniquely tied to the current way in which 
> broadcast channels are assigned and operated by the government. Each 
> 6 MHz channel is a unique service, operated by the licensee. The 
> licensee must decide how to allocate their bits between services 
> including the possible use of hierarchical modulation for different 
> classes of service.
> On the other hand, with a spectrum utility, all of the 6 MHz channels 
> assigned to a market would be operated by a single entity. They would 
> have the freedom to allocate those channels in any way they need to 
> on an instantaneous basis. If a content provider bids for carriage of 
> a service at say 12 Mbps using modulation appropriate for fixed 
> receivers, that is what the utility would be contractually obligated 
> to provide. Ditto for any other service. The utility would decide 
> where to map that content and how to best utilize all of the channels 
> in the service to meet the demands of "the marketplace."
> It is quite possible that the utility would NOT use hierarchical 
> modulation at all, choosing instead to operate some channels in 
> robust mode and others in high bit rate modes.  This could be a 
> benefit to portable/mobile receivers, as there might be 10-20 robust 
> services in a single channel all accessible via only one tuner.
> Bottom line, being able to manage 60-100 MHz of bandwidth in a market 
> dynamically, as opposed to 10 or more operators each of whom has only 
> 6 MHz to manage changes the game entirely.
> The alternative that you suggest - i.e. segmentation of spectrum into 
> different competing services - would likely result in less efficient 
> use of the spectrum and higher costs to content providers and 
> consumers. Even more important, however, it is likely that the 
> consumer would need different appliances to use each service.
>>It might make more sense for broadcasters to give
>>Verizon retransmission consent on Vcast than to try to
>>try to use either DVB-H or E-VSB, for these handhelds.
> Who is talking about handhelds? Only the phone guys.
> There will also be portable TVs, notebook computers, 
> receivers/displays in vehicles (for passengers), etc. More important, 
> however, the phone companies like to charge for bits; they will want 
> to charge a per minute fee for everything you watch, because they 
> paid a huge fee to buy the rights to use the spectrum.
>>> Why is our policy based on the idea that this
>>> capacity belongs to the broadcaster?
>>Only for OTA TV and radio transmission. For cable, DBS,
>>and satellite radio, the capacity belongs to another
>>gatekeeper -- the service provider.
> Different gatekeepers, same problem. When you allocate spectrum to an 
> operator, rather than a service, the operators will use their 
> gatekeeper abilities to control the market. On the other hand, if you 
> allocate spectrum to a service, and create a marketplace to determine 
> the instantaneous cost of buying access to that service, you 
> eliminate much of the inefficiency and gerrymandering that occurs 
> with our current system.
>>Is there a problem with supporting both models?
> None at all. The technology now exists to make the allocation of 
> spectrum to monolithic gatekeeper services a relic of the past. Bits 
> are bits, and one well designed digital broadcast infrastructure can 
> deliver any and all services with dynamic re-allocation of resources 
> driven by real marketplace demands.
> Regards
> Craig
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