By Brendan Sasso and Gautham Nagesh - 07/25/11 10:49 PM EDT
THE LEDE: Broadcasters said Monday the Federal Communications Commission’s spectrum plan would decimate their industry. According to a study released by the National Association of Broadcasters, under the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, 210 local television stations would shut down, 50 million viewers would lose access to 14 or more stations and 100 million viewers would lose access to 6 or more stations. Detroit would lose all 9 of its stations.
But the FCC and wireless trade groups pushed back against NAB’s claims:
"NAB’s study misses the fact that an incentive auction will be market-driven and voluntary. Our proposal will not shut down hundreds of stations; it will open up massive innovation and investment. It has twin benefits: it will help broadcasters interested in participating and unleash much needed spectrum — a key ingredient to meeting the demands of the mobile revolution. Rather then engage in scare tactics, we urge NAB to work with us to achieve our shared legislative objectives to maintain a strong over-the-air broadcasting service."
—Neil Grace, FCC spokesman
“Contrary to the scare tactics that NAB is presenting to consumers and policymakers, reallocating underutilized spectrum will not remove free over-the-air broadcast television. We also want to remind broadcasters of two key points in all of the incentive auction discussions, as well as in each of the legislative discussion drafts. First, participation in the auction is voluntary. Second, repacking costs will be reimbursed. NAB's study confirms that even under their analysis, spectrum can be moved voluntarily to its highest and best use, billions can be raised for the United States Treasury and free over-the-air broadcast services continue.”
—Chris Guttman-McCabe, vice president of CTIA-The Wireless Association
“Our nation faces a crisis as demand for wireless spectrum will soon outstrip supply. Meanwhile, the number of Americans relying purely on over-the-air TV is less than 10 percent, according to both CEA and Nielsen market research. Incentive auctions would be a financial windfall for broadcasters, free up the spectrum necessary for the next generation of American innovation to move forward and bring in $33 billion to the U.S. Treasury.”
—Michael Petricone, vice president of government affairs for the Consumer Electronics Association
Top DHS cybersecurity official resigns: Randy Vickers, the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s team in charge of responding to cyber-attacks, stepped down abruptly on Monday. DHS declined to comment on Vickers's departure, citing policy against discussing personnel matters. Deputy director Lee Rock will serve as acting director until a replacement is named.
AT&T argues local providers keep market competitive: AT&T filed a letter at the Federal Communications Commission last Friday arguing that the impact of local promotional efforts and price changes demonstrate the local nature of the wireless market. Opponents of AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA argue the deal would leave AT&T and Verizon Wireless in control of more than 80 percent of the wireless market, with Sprint in a distant third place. AT&T argues that in most major cities there will still be several local wireless providers available to provide competition.
Video game group wants legal fees reimbursed: The Entertainment Software Association filed a motion for reimbursement of $1.1 million in legal fees in the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, arguing the state of California should pay after defending a law it knew to be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court struck down a 2005 law that banned the sale of video games deemed excessively violent by the state's attorney general to minors last month by a vote of 7-2, ruling that the obscenity exception to the First Amendment applies only to depictions of sexual conduct.
On Tap Tuesday:
The Senate Judiciary Committee's Immigration subpanel will take up the issue of highly skilled immigration at a hearing featuring representatives from the tech industry, academia and a group representing highly skilled immigrants. The hearing, titled "The Economic Imperative for Enacting Immigration Reform," will take place at 10:00 a.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Testimony preview from Bob Greifeld, CEO of NASDAQ OMX:
"Whether in Silicon Valley, Austin, Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta or anywhere else in the United States, I hear from CEOs that the H-1B visa system is inadequate for today’s human capital marketplace and that the back log for green cards is a legitimate threat to their business’s ability to get the right talent. I hear that many great thinkers are not staying here or can’t stay here to pursue their life’s work. I hear that we have these wonderful factories — our colleges and universities — that produce brilliance, and we are depriving our own nation the fruits of this production."
A group of more than 70 thought leaders from business and academia will release its recommendations for the government's adoption of cloud computing after lunch at the National Press Club. Later, a separate panel featuring representatives from BMC Software, Cisco Systems, Adobe, Red Hat and Harris Corp. will discuss opportunities to reduce costs and improve service by moving existing services and applications to cyberspace.
The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing at 11 a.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building on cybersecurity that will examine the government's efforts to safeguard private-sector networks deemed part of the nation's critical infrastructure, such as the electric grid and nuclear power plants, against cybersecurity threats.