The UK House of Lords thinks that broadcast TV is a waste of bandwidth: They’ve recommended ending broadcast TV and making that spectrum available for mobile data use. They argue that TV can be delivered via the internet to alleviate the crunch on existing mobile broadband channels. It’s fairly widely known that we don’t have a lot of room left on current mobile broadband channels, and there’s not exactly lot of room to grow, a fact that is becoming increasingly clear as the market for smartphone and other web-enabled devices continues to grow.
In a report by the House of Lords’ Communications Committee titled Broadband for All – An Alternative Vision, the committee writes: “We recommend that the government, Ofcom and the industry begin to consider the desirability of the transfer of terrestrial broadcast content from spectrum to the internet and the consequent switching off of broadcast transmission over spectrum,” a move that would free up a lot of the spectrum, allowing more and faster data services to be deployed in their stead. Television would move to the internet, where it would likely be doled out in a fashion similar to Google’s Fiber+TV. The idea is based on the fact that most TV is watched from fixed locations; you don’t tote your 40″ LCD around with you to Starbucks. That means that the signal for that information should be fixed as well, instead of being broadcast over precious radio frequencies.
I don’t believe that major providers will be happy with this. They’re awful shoddy at dealing with the internet, and can’t even seem to get live broadcasts to work. They’ve settled into a comfortable spot in your wallet and in the air, where they don’t have to pay bandwidth costs, worry about mobile users, or anything difficult. It appears, to me, that anything with an IP address scares them: such venues are easily hackable, which of course means that everyone will steal their worthless shows about jerks stuck in paradise will full medical coverage.
Assuming this moves forward – and there’s no promise of that – perhaps we can see if the dinosaurs can evolve more eloquently than the music industry has. Don’t hold your breath.