Monday, December 19, 2005

Beware Digital Spectrum Corporate Give-away

The debate about the digital spectrum sell-off and the requisite analog TV conversion raises serious questions about control over the airwaves which, at least in theory, belong to the public. In reality, we’re seeing that our airwaves are managed by a cumbersome federal government in collusion with multinational broadcast media corporations. It really is a fascist conspiracy that attempts to subvert public control over public assets, while kicking-back $3 billion to the corporations who control the media oligopoly. Although the digital spectrum conversion is intended to generate federal funds by the sale of unlicensed spectrum (around $10 billion have already been earmarked by King George II for deficit relief), the money would be better spent on our community media outlets and public broadcasting efforts.
The government does not have the consent of the governed in this case, if only due to the fact that very few people know what’s happening with our airwaves or our money –small wonder given that the commercial media companies have no interest in raising public awareness of this issue.
Bestowing greater control and the right to license or sell-off digital spectrum upon our local communities is the best way to serve the public interest. Local governments have the most accountability in elected officials and are best able to meet the needs and reflect the values of the community. The public interest is what airwaves are for, spectrum is not a commodity to be bought and sold to the highest bidder only to aid big government’s fiscal mismanagement. New unlicensed digital spectrum should be given to the communities that it will serve, to benefit the community directly without the federal middleman.


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