Digital TV, the Giveway to the Broadcast Lobby, and the Current Proposal for a Delay

The focus on a lack of digital TV converter discount coupons obscures a more important story.  The grabbing of the digital spectrum by the broadcast lobby as part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.  There is no business model for terrestrial broadcasting—what happened was a spectrum grab–so broadcasters could gain for free public airwaves worth billions.  Ironically, now taxpayers are footing the bill for the converters as well–another subsidy in a way to the National Association of Broadcaster lobby.

The debate should be on how the digital airwaves giveway to the broadcast lobby should be a lesson learned.

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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