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Cable Technology Feature Article

March 07, 2011

NAB Accuses Time Warner and Dish Network of Spectrum Hoarding

By Carrie Schmelkin, TMCnet Web Editor

Time Warner Cable and Dish Network are attracting the attention of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), and not because of their great channel offerings.

Recently, NAB enlisted the help of Congress to find out whether the two TV conglomerates were participating in something referred to as “spectrum hoarding,” according to a recent blog post.  NAB turned to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee to find out whether Dish Network and Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable were “warehousing their spectrum licenses so they can sell them off at a huge profit to bandwidth-starved operators,” according to a CED article.

In the letter NAB CEO Gordon Smith explained that "The pattern of spectrum speculation from Time Warner Cable and DISH Network is especially troubling given that the FCC's (News - Alert) National Broadband Plan proclaimed a year ago that there is a 'looming spectrum crisis. If America is truly facing a spectrum shortage, then it is imperative that policymakers receive an unbiased and thorough report on how private companies like Dish, Time Warner Cable and government agencies are using or warehousing this precious resource."

NAB’s letter is the most recent attempt to undermine the Federal Communications Commission plan to rely on airwaves currently used for television broadcast to reduce the spectrum crunch, the article reports.

In response to the letter regarding spectrum use, Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (News - Alert), recently released the following statement: "NAB is seeking to confuse the U.S. Congress by comparing businesses that have paid large amounts for thin slices of spectrum with broadcasters who did not pay for broad swathes of the most desirable spectrum and who are sitting on underused spectrum loaned to them by government. The fast growth in wireless video requires that we repurpose underused spectrum."

Both TV empires have been busy as of late, as Time Warner, the second largest cable operator in the United States with 14.5 million customers across 28 states, signed an agreement with Greenpacket, a developer of next-generation mobile broadband and networking solutions, to provide its next-generation connection management solutions.

Time Warner Cable will offer customized versions of Greenpacket's Intouch Connection Manager (ICM), Intouch Reporting Server and Intouch Update Server for its Windows and Mac platforms. Greenpacket's suite of Intouch solutions is designed to enhance the connectivity experiences of end-users as they move across Time Warner Cable's multiple wireless broadband networks.

Meanwhile, early last month, Dish Network agreed to buy soon-to-be bankrupt satellite company DBSD North America, Inc., for about $1 billion. The move is thought to be an attempt by Dish Network to expand its possession of increasingly precious wireless spectrum.

Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin