Wireless Industry, FCC Come to Senses and End Spectrum Reclamation
In a surprise move, the FCC and the wireless industry today announced that they had "come to [their] senses" and have discontinued their pursuit of television spectrum.
While the FCC and the wireless industry still intend to try to clear most stations off of channel 51 for a guard band, no further reclamation will take place.
"We looked at the name of the service we provide, 'cellular telephones,' and realized that's the answer," said a high-ranking engineer at Verizon Wireless. "Clearly, making the cells smaller, and thus making more efficient of the spectrum we already have, is the best way to improve our service and solve our issues with speed and throughput for 4G Internet connectivity. In addition, having more tower sites means people will be closer to any given tower and have better service as a result."
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski acknowledged that the National Broadband Plan was never about rural broadband. "It's plainly obvious that spectrum availability is not the reason for low availability of broadband in rural areas; there is a ton of unused spectrum in those areas. Service issues for those in urban areas were the main reason for this push, and we now realize how much more sense it makes to use smaller cells and existing spectrum allocations."
The sudden about-face came as a shock to members of the broadcast industry, including broadcasters who had been buying up stations to sell in incentive auctions. A high-ranking official at one such company, who wished to remain anonymous, commented on the situation. "I can't believe that I now have to provide actual programming people want to watch in order to serve the public interest instead of simply filling my own pockets at the public's expense!" His statement continued, but used language that could not be published in this article.
Most other broadcasters breathed a sigh of relief. One station owner was very pleased with the situation. "Stations which were afraid to invest in equipment to add additional channels are now going to feel secure enough to make those investments and make free over-the-air television a more viable competitor to cable and satellite. Having 30 or more channels available over the air, even if many of those are not in high definition, makes it much easier for people to cut down one of their largest expenses every month: cable television."
One industry was predictably upset with this turn of events, the cable industry. An official for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association told us, "I am disappointed that our largest competition is not going to be killed off. We're going to have to cancel the big party we had set up." He went on to note that, "now we can't jack up prices on our customers because they will continue to have free competition to jump to. If we can't collude with all our competition to raise prices, how will we ever make money!?"
The cellular companies have already begun working toward making upgrades in accordance with their new upgrade strategy. It is expected to be completed shortly after the US Congress attains a positive approval rating.
Happy April Fool's Day, everyone. =)