[opendtv] Re: Short answer to Bert

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 10:47:02 -0400

At 3:30 PM -0400 5/20/05, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
>Even your supposed "spectrum utility" would have to worry
>about what modulation to use for what services it is
>carrying. These variables don't go away. For mobile apps,
>the spectrum utility would have to provide a more robust
>channel, at the price of more Hz needed for each b/s of
>data stream. Big deal. None of this is hard to do
>technically, and none of this invalidates ATSC. It might
>add to ATSC without even having to become part of it.

It's not hard to do technically with a properly designed modulation 
system that has the flexibility to dynamically allocate resources to 
different services. Unfortunately this is not possible with ATSC; and 
E-VSB was a lame attempt to add to ATSC.

>The FCC *could*, in principle, make the TV bands dependent
>on time of day, somewhat like the AM band has been. Or it
>could in principle allow broadcasters to operate that way
>on their own. Let them decide what type of service to
>transmit at different times of day. Again, an orthogonal
>discussion to matters relating to DTT.

It's NOT orthogonal. This IS one of the key issues.

Should broadcasters be forced to remain constrained by what they have 
always done, or should they be freed to compete and innovate. The 
answer is fairly simple and lies at the crux of this discussion.

Broadcasters already have one of the most lucrative franchises ever 
granted by a government. They are squandering scarce public resources 
to protect that franchise, rather than trying to compete and 
innovate. Competitiors are justifiably concerned that the government 
might give broadcasters even more competitive advantage by allowing 
them to use the spectrum to compete in new ways, WITHOUT the ability 
for new entrants to compete on a level playing field.

There are two ways out of this mess:

1. Let broadcasters commit suicide - then the spectrum can be 
re-allocated (auctioned).

2. Take back the spectrum and create a new service where existing 
broadcasters and new entrants can compete based on their willingness 
to pay for access to the public.

It is likely that #1 will lead to a situation worse than what we have 
today. as once you auction the spectrum the government largely loses 
the ability to control how it is being used. Auction fees are just a 
tax on consumers that gets added to the cost of using a public 


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