NAB's Smith sees divided government as an asset to stopping harmful bills

In particular, he questioned whether mobile broadband is the most efficient way to use the airwaves when it comes to transmitting video.

"We're in the video business. They want to be in the video business. Video is what creates the congestion. No one does it more efficiently than we do," he said. 

The challenges presented by the bandwidth demands of online video will exist no matter if broadcast airwaves are devoted to mobile broadband, according to Smith. 


"If you take all the broadcast spectrum, there probably isn't enough spectrum in the universe to manage one-to-one video on every mobile device," he said. 

Smith said he is concerned about how much revenue broadcasters will make if they choose to auction off their airwaves so they can be re-purposed for mobile broadband. 

"I've said to those in broadcasting who want to volunteer, make sure the check clears before you let go of your spectrum," he said.

Smith said members of Congress in both parties seem to feel strongly that broadcasters should not be forced to turn over their spectrum. "They're interested in keeping 'voluntary' voluntary," he said. 

The Federal Communications Commission needs congressional authority before it can move on incentive auctions.