from the on-hold dept
The reason for the digital switchover is to free up the 700MHz spectrum that's used by analog broadcasts. The spectrum's low frequency gives it great propagation characteristics for mobile broadband, while the sheer quantity of it the TV broadcasts occupy translates into a lot of capacity for next-generation mobile networks. Also, keep in mind that the government has already auctioned off the licenses to this spectrum, so companies like Qualcomm and Verizon Wireless, which have already shelled out billions of dollars to set up shop in it, will have to push back their investments and rollouts. This could have a carry-on effect on consumers. For instance, Cox Communications bought 700MHz licenses in many of the markets in which it offers cable TV service with the intention of setting up its own mobile networks, introducing new competition for incumbents. One other group that stands to lose out if the transition is delayed: public safety agencies, which were allocated 700MHz spectrum in order to build interoperable, unified communications systems. This transition has been pushed back for years; it's important now that the hard deadline stands, and that the vast amount of spectrum used by the analog broadcasts -- broadcasts that relatively few people rely on -- can be refarmed and put to a more valuable use.