Telecom Timeout

Feb 5 2009   3:22PM GMT

Sorry, Verizon: No 700 Mhz spectrum for you til June

WPeterson William Peterson Profile: WPeterson

It looks like our resident telecom guru Tom Nolle, who runs our sister blog Uncommon Wisdom, was right again: The House finally went along with the Senate on the second time around, passing a delay to the digital TV transition 264 to 158 and keeping winnners of the 700 Mhz auction from fully tapping their lucre — for now.

But as we examined earlier in the week, the digital TV delay won’t hurt too many telecoms hoping to capitalize on the spectrum:

… LTE is highly unlikely to be deployed within four months, and an agreement to a short delay may avoid some nasty political and public relations fallout.

“The people who bid on and won the auctions are anxious to start exploiting what they purchased,” Nolle said. “But truth be told, if there were a four-month delay in the spectrum, the effect is more psychological and financial than it is tangible.”

The deeper implications of a delay may be for smaller regional or niche media carriers that purchased a portion of the spectrum — and those that will compete against them.

“If you bought rights to get any of the spectrum that is being vacated, the delay isn’t a good thing,” said Stephen Blum, president of telecommunications consultancy Tellus Venture Associates. “If you don’t own any of that spectrum, [and] your competitors are being delayed, in the short term that’s a good thing.”

Still, if after an estimated $1 billion information campaign and numerous delays, are some people ever going to get the message?

Read more about the digital TV delay at Reuters.

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