TV’s Future: The Broadcast Empire Strikes Back: New digital technologies could put over-the-air TV back in vogue
The biggest such reallocation happened in the United States in 2009, when the switch to all-digital broadcasting freed up 18 television channels—about one-fourth of the frequencies previously occupied by broadcasters. But mobile operators are still hungry for spectrum, and the broadcast industry is again vulnerable. The United States’ spectrum regulatory agency, the Federal Communications Commission , is now making plans for a new strategy to wrest more spectrum from broadcasters’ hands. Through so-called incentive auctions , TV stations could choose to shut down, move to lower, less desirable frequencies, or share channels in exchange for some of the money the U.S. government makes from selling the rights to the spectrum they give up. If the process succeeds, countries in Europe and other spectrum-challenged regions may follow suit.