News Ticker

Opinion—The FCC could rob Peter to pay Paul

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and the commission staff has been on the road actively promoting TV station participation in the broadcast incentive auction. “Let me make the pitch one more time,” said Wheeler at the conclusion of his speech to broadcasters at the National Association of Broadcasters last month. “The incentive auction is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity…. it’s entirely voluntary, you can decide based on final bids.”

The Seattle Times editorial board took note of his salesmanship, but isn’t buying into the whole premise of the auction, that taking spectrum from broadcasters and putting it in the hands of the wireless phone providers is a good thing.

It would seem that we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, but Peter’s been providing free service and Paul charges $40 or more per month.

AMERICANS generally don’t think of the Federal Communications Commission as a sales organization.

But lately the regulatory body overseeing our communication networks has donned a loud suit and gone door-to-door, pressing the nation’s broadcasters to consider a deal that it’s pitching as “a unique opportunity to unlock value.”

Tune in to this show, especially if you’re tired of cable bills and looking to cut the cord. The FCC is selling a plan that could change the landscape in a way that reduces ownership diversity, limits service and creates other uncertainty for consumers.