TV, wireless landscape could change with FCC auction

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Wireless broadband signals may improve greatly in just more than a year, but some of the TV stations people might watch could be going away, or move to a different channel number. (KGO-TV )

Wireless broadband signals may improve greatly in just more than a year, but some of the TV stations people might watch could be going away, or move to a different channel number.

Anyone who uses broadband gets their signal from a spectrum. The TV signal also comes from a spectrum. Federal regulators are giving TV stations an opportunity to sell part of their spectrum to help improve broadband service.

It's happened to many people. The Internet signal stalls just when people need it most and that's why there's a call for a spectrum auction. If it occurs, the mobile industry says it will mean better wireless service for everyone.

"It's going to mean faster service. It's going to mean more ubiquitous service," said Jot Carpenter of the Wireless Association.

TV stations and wireless carriers share the bandwith, or spectrum, available on airwaves. For wireless to expand their service, broadcasters will have to give up some of their spectrum.

Broaadcasters are being offered the chance to aution off their spectrum and make that available to wireless carriers.

Originally, the broadcasters received that bandwidth for free, but over the years it's been sold and resold to other broadcasters for billions of dollars

Ravi Kapur of San Fancisco is president of DiyaTV. It can be seen on Channel 26.2 in the Bay Area and serves a national audience with ties to India.

"The folks that will lose access are the folks that always get marginalized. You're going to have women and minorities that will get displaced off the air, plain and simple," Kapurs said.

It's not clear which stations in the Bay Area may put themselves up for auction, if any.

But the FCC says the auction won't be limited to smaller stations.
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"I think stations large and small are looking at this opportunity and I think we will see a mix of large and small stations ultimately decide to participate in the auction," said Howard Symons of the FCC.

Some of the stations who participate in the auction will actually go off the air. Others will move to different channel numbers and could share space with an existing station.

Kapur predicts the stations most likely to go off the air are small independent and PBS stations.

"The big boys will continue on, but what you won't have any independent voices left," Kapur said.

He says low power stations, which usually are smaller independent stations, don't qualify for money from the auction and are not guaranteed space if they want to share.

The FCC says it's working to change that.

Wireless providers say viewers served by those stations will be able to find the content online.

"I think we can absolutely serve that community," Carpenter said.

Viewers could begin to see changes in 2017.

Related Topics:
entertainment7 On Your Sidetelevisioncable televisioninternetconsumer
(Copyright ©2017 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)


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