I have long thought that the switch from analog to digital television signals was a mistake. Somebody is making money from this. Why else do it? And that group making the money is the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) which has made roughly $19 billion (yes, billion) from the sale of the wireless frequencies analog television occupies. The FCC has been auctioning off spectrum slots/sections. A local example is what happened to a rock station here in Asheville a few years ago. WZLS had the rights, allotted by the FCC, to a radio frequency. However, the FCC later auctioned that frequency and WZLS and its friends didn’t have the funds to keep it. After a lengthy legal battle, the station was forced off the air. What this means is that only those groups or individuals with the funds can be assured of frequency allotments. Public radio has also suffered as high income church groups buy up their frequencies and push them off the air. (we all know Satan is heavily involved in the public radio segment, right?)
Then came the news that the coupon program (the gov’t offered coupons to help the purchase of converter boxes for people who use antennas) has run out of money. They were allowed only $1.34 billion to go toward those coupons. (19 – 1.34 = 17.66) The FCC has given grants toward educating the public (roughly 10 million in-house for their call center and 8.4 million for 12 groups such as the AARP). So subtract 18.4 million from the 17.66 billion (no clue how to do this myself) and you can see that there’s still nearly 17 billion US dollars available….somewhere.
Source for data: Coupon woes are only part of digital TV concerns