SPECTRUM & BROADBAND POLICY

SPECTRUM

CEA believes that in the 21st century economy, spectrum is the oxygen of innovation. We strongly support legislative efforts to authorize the FCC to conduct voluntary incentive auctions in order to secure 500 MHz of additional spectrum for broadband services and address our looming spectrum shortfall. More, CEA believes that any additional spectrum should be available for both licensed and unlicensed use

  • August 2, 2013 – CEA Press ReleaseCEA Commends President Obama for Nomination of Mike O'Rielly as FCC Commissioner

  • August 2013 - The FCC is seeking to update its equipment authorization program for radiofrequency (RF) devices under Part 2 of its rules. This is the first update to the program since 1998. Examples of devices subject to equipment authorization include mobile phones, wireless local area networking equipment, remote control transmitters, cordless telephones, walkie-talkies, business computer equipment, personal computers and peripherals, and consumer equipment such as microwave ovens, RF light bulbs, TV and FM receivers and TV interface devices.

    According to the FCC the proposed changes are intended to enable new and innovative products to be brought to market as quickly as possible, while at the same time protecting against interference among radio services and devices. The FCC does not propose any changes to its technical rules, only changes to the rules governing the approval process.

  • July 22, 2013 - CEA filed comments with the FCC in response to a white paper from the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council (TAC) pertaining to the improvement of receiver performance.  In its comments, CEA recommended that the FCC should further explore how it can support and promote industry development of receiver performance measurements including interference signal strength profiles that can be used to establish harm claim thresholds appropriate for various spectrum bands and applications.  CEA advised that if the FCC should adopt a harm claim threshold approach, then it should consider on a band-by-band basis whether such thresholds are more appropriately housed in Commission regulation or in inter-industry agreements.

  • July 18, 2013 – CEA Press Release: CEA Hails The Efficient Use of Government Spectrum Act of 2013

  • May 28, 2013 - In a filing in response to the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, CEA said that the FCC should make additional spectrum available in the 5 GHz band for unlicensed operations while protecting federal and licensed incumbent operations.  As the demand for mobile broadband services continues to grow exponentially, spectrum remains a critical resource on which the U.S. continues to run dangerously low.  The FCC must explore all options to make additional spectrum available to address the spectrum crunch, enable service providers to satisfy consumer demand, and fuel innovation and economic growth.

  • May 1, 2013 – CEA Press Release: CEA Commends President Obama for Nomination of Tom Wheeler as FCC Chairman

  • April 22, 2013 - In his keynote before The Media Institute, Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) drew on CEA’s new book Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World’s Most Successful Businesses to criticize broadcasters for opposing innovation, specifically noting their efforts to impede spectrum auctions. In his remarks, Shapiro urged broadcasters to act like “Ninjas” and “Innovate or Die”. He noted that: “We are concerned that broadcasters seem less enthused about the auctions,” Shapiro said. “In fact, while we were pushing for the law allowing auctions, broadcasters worked tirelessly to thwart its passage, first claiming against all credible evidence that there is no spectrum crisis, and then insisting that a complete spectrum inventory be performed prior to passage of any auction legislation. The legislation passed anyway. Now, broadcasters appear to be employing every possible strategy to slow walk the auctions.” During his remarks, Shapiro also released the results of CEA’s 15th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study, noting that for the first time, the top four products in terms of increased household penetration rates are mobile products that require spectrum.

VOLUNTARY SPECTRUM AUCTIONS

CEA supports legislative efforts to authorize the FCC to conduct voluntary incentive auctions in order to secure 500 MHz of spectrum for broadband services.

  • July 26, 2013 - CEA file ex parte comments to discuss options for geographic variability in spectrum allotments in the 600 MHz incentive auction band plan.  The purpose of the ex parte was to clarify and expand on CEA’s comments in this proceeding with regard to successful implementation of a “Down From 51” band plan that accommodates variation in available spectrum from market to market.  These supplemental comments were based on a significant amount of feedback from engineering teams at CEA’s member companies.

  • July 22, 2013 - The FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force released key materials regarding the repacking of broadcast television stations as they pertain to the voluntary broadcast spectrum incentive auction process. CEA praised the release of the FCC’s new TVStudy software and other key TV data, noting that "[w]e applaud the FCC staff for their hard work and thoughtful consideration of the many details involved in updating decades-old software to reflect current technology and accurate, real-world coverage and interference effects."

  • June 14, 2013 - CEA filed comments on the FCC’s Public Notice that sought review of its proposed variations of the “Down from 51,” approach, which put forward 600 MHz band plan for broadcast incentive auctions. CEA’s recommendations were guided by a consensus amongst the broadcasters, hardware manufacturers, and mobile operators, who similarly saw the value in the “Down from 51,” (“DF51”) approach. The DF51 method more effectively utilizes auctioned spectrum for greater efficiency in smartphones and tablets, minimizing interference.

  • May 30, 2013 - CEA and NAB filed a joint letter with Acting FCC Chairwoman Clyburn seeking forward momentum on international coordination issues as they pertain to the voluntary spectrum incentive auctions.  The issues are relevant to mobile broadband operations within U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border regions and the repacking of broadcast stations in those areas.  The letter reiterates points that CEA made in our original incentive auction comments and echoed by NAB in its reply comments.
  • April 5, 2013 - To help the FCC prepare for upcoming voluntary spectrum incentive auctions, CEA filed comments and reply comments in response to the FCC’s Public Notice regarding implementation of new TVStudy software to implement OET Bulletin No. 69, the Longley-Rice Methodology for Evaluating TV Coverage and Interference. CEA believes that the new software is easier to use, more accurate, and more thorough than prior software implementing OET-69. The new software will also assist the Commission in meeting the “all reasonable efforts” statutory criteria for repacking broadcast stations. Before the Commission can preserve coverage and population served, as required by statute, it must first develop an accurate assessment of the area currently covered and the population currently served. The TVStudy software, with its increased accuracy and updated data, makes such an assessment possible.

NET NEUTRALITY

We believe that consumers should have the right to attach devices of their choice to broadband networks as well as have unfettered access to content. CEA believes that the government can most effectively address the net neutrality debate by reallocating spectrum for wireless broadband use. This reallocation would ensure rapid broadband deployment and a competitive, pro-consumer broadband marketplace.

NATIONAL BROADBAND PLAN (NBP)

CEA supported the release of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan in March 2010. Specifically, CEA commended the FCC’s goals regarding our nation’s spectrum crisis, competition in the marketplace for video devices and accessibility issues. CEA will continue to work closely with the FCC through the rulemaking process to ensure that the goals of the NBP are met.

PARENTAL CONTROLS

In today’s fast- changing media landscape, the consumer electronics industry, policymakers and all other stakeholders share a common goal: to protect our children and help them to advance and thrive in today’s digital world. To that end, the CEA’s member companies have developed and continue to provide effective products and product features to help parents structure their children’s television experience. Video providers also offer a broad array of parental control tools. Interested parents can take advantage of this vibrant marketplace to find technological tools and services to tailor their children’s viewing experience to meet their family’s particular needs. Because a myriad of options for parents exist, CEA does not support government-mandated parental control technologies.

ATTACHMENT OF DEVICES TO PAY-TV SERVICES

CEA has long-supported the ability of consumers to attach the device of their choice to their pay-TV service. In the Telecom Act of 1996, Congress included language to ensure the availability of competitive devices at retail so that consumers could buy a device and attach it to their pay-TV service. The CableCARD was envisioned as a bridge between CE devices and pay-TV services, but this solution has been met with many roadblocks by the cable industry. CEA supported FCC action to strengthen its CableCARD rules. Recognizing the lack of competition in the market for competitive devices, the FCC’s National Broadband Plan recommended that the FCC initiate a proceeding to ensure that a “gateway” device is installed by pay-TV (MVPD) providers in all new subscriber homes and all homes requiring replacement set-top boxes by the end of 2012. The NBP suggested that the gateway device should be simple and that its sole function should only be to “bridge the proprietary or unique elements of the MVPD network.” CEA supports the continued use of CableCARDs and movement toward a gateway device. We must achieve a level playing field for competitive devices.

  • May 20, 2013 –  CEA filed an Application for Review appealing the FCC Media Bureau’s grant of Charter Communication’s request for a 2-year waiver from obligations to provide CableCARDs and to support CableCARD-reliant products.  In the Application, CEA avers that the Media Bureau’s action is in conflict with Section 629 of the Communications Act and with Commission regulations. Section 629 requires that FCC regulations assure competitive commercial availability of retail navigation devices, whereas the Order effectively nullifies these explicit Commission rules and orders with respect to Charter.