SBD/Issue 81/Sports Media

FCC Chair Makes Call For Increase In Wireless Spectrum At CES

Genachowski Says Not Addressing Wireless Spectrum
Could Put Economic Competitiveness At Risk

FCC Chair Julius Genachowski for the second straight year used the Int'l Consumer Electronics Show to make a passionate call for a dramatic increase in wireless spectrum. The agency recently estimated the U.S. will see a 35-fold increase in mobile traffic over the next five years. Video content and the meteoric rise of tablet devices, both of which have overindexed among sports fans, stand among the significant drivers of that surge. Genachowski, however, Friday branded that projection as conservative. "Not addressing this situation will have disastrous consequences and put our economic competitiveness at risk," he said, calling the issue the agency's top priority in '11. "Though we can't see it, spectrum is becoming increasingly essential to the daily lives of almost every American. ... We have to move and we have to move fast." The FCC is pursuing a voluntary auction system in which broadcasters are encouraged to give up underutilized bands of spectrum, and then share in proceeds when those bands are resold. The National Association of Broadcasters, however, to date has resisted other spectrum-release efforts it sees as pressuring of its members.

CBS EYEING FINAL FOUR, MASTERS IN 3D: CBS Sports is optimistic of landing deals to show the upcoming '11 Final Four and The Masters in 3D, said Exec VP/Operations, Engineering & Production Services Ken Aagaard, though there is no signed deal for either yet. Aagaard appeared Friday at Panasonic's booth at CES to discuss the network's work to date in the enhanced format. CBS Sports and Panasonic, along with DirecTV, collaborated last summer on a 3D production of tennis' U.S. Open. "We're still working on those, and I'm hopeful," Aagaard said of the Final Four and The Masters. There has been no discussion, however, with the NFL on producing games in 3D, he said, with the topic likely shelved until at least after the league's labor issues are resolved.

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