White paper butts heads with FCC broadband plan

Going against the grain of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, the Open Mobile Video Coalition, which represents nearly 900 broadcasters, has released a white paper urging TV stations to “move quickly in supporting mobile digital TV services.”

Stations following that lead would fill out additional portions of their spectrum allocation, which could make it less practical for them to “voluntarily” give some of it up in return for compensation, as recommended Monday by the FCC.

The goal of the FCC’s new plan is to make high-speed wireless broadband the backbone of the nation’s comunication infrastructure, whereas OMVC takes the position that over-the-air broadcast technology, which stations can now use to send content to mobile devices like cell phones, laptops and car receivers, is the most efficient use of scarce spectrum.

In a conference call to announce the release of the white paper, OMVC prexy and Ion Media networks CEO Brandon Burgess said that broadcast’s “one-to-many” delivery model doesn’t “bog down the Internet or cell phone towers with video transmission.”

Although the OMVC study was begun long before the latest FCC initiative, its release yesterday coincides with new concerns among broadcasters that the FCC’s plan, which favors broadband over broadcast, threatens to deprive them of about a third of their their spectrum allocation.

OMVC, whose members reach over 100 million TV households, commissioned research firm IDC to conduct the study. Org’s mission is to accelerate development of mobile digital TV.

The FCC’s call for broadcast-spectrum reduction comes just as TV stations are starting to capitalize on the enhancement of their signals resulting from June’s national switchover to all-digital transmission. Many of them are now broadcasting their main channel in HD and additional sub-channels in standard-def offering such fare as weather and syndicated programming.

So far, 45 U.S. TV stations also are broadcasting digital mobile services, per OMVC, which expects that number to grow rapidly.

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