The $70 Billion Spectrum Rip-Off
The airwaves belong to the People, but the FCC plans to cut us out and give away the new digital spectrum to the same corporations that have been ignoring and violating the public interest provisions in their license in the analog spectrum
On February 18, the new channels – on spectrum valued at over $70 billion – will be handed over solely to the current 1,762 U.S. broadcast licensees. But because of the massive giveaway Congress signed off on in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, local communities, entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, unions, churches, schools and everyday taxpayers won’t be allowed to set one foot in this new broadcasting game.
It is often forgotten that the airwaves commercial broadcasters use belong to the public. In return for using this valuable public resource for absolutely free, commercial broadcasters have basic “public interest obligations” to ensure that programming reflects the needs and desires of the public . It’s no secret that broadcasters have been shirking this duty for years and that lawmakers and the FCC have failed to hold broadcasters accountable.