Qualcomm demands partial deadline enforcement


The operator of MediaFLO mobile television network is counting on using spectrum tied to the migration of broadcast television from analog to digital, and is adamantly opposed to a delay of the 2/17/09 deadline. But if a delay is unavoidable, it wants it enforced in four large markets.

The company says any delay will deny up to 40M people a chance to get its 15-channel mobile phone television service. The company told legislators that any delay would be “…unfair, unjust, and inappropriate,” and added that it has spent a great deal of money promoting the 2/17/09 deadline. And in the event there is no stopping a delay, it want the government to enforce the original deadline on nine stations in the San Francisco, Houston, Boston and Miami markets, where the bulk of its expansion plans are targeted.

According to stats just released by Nielsen, Boston is one of the markets in very good shape for the transition, with only 2.25% of TV households in the unprepared group. San Francisco, at 5.2% and Miami, at 5.47%, are in reasonably good shape. But Houston, at 9.95%, is the third least prepared market in the US.

RBR/TVBR observation: No matter what course is taken, somebody is going to get hurt. If the transition is delayed, television stations will get an automatic tax in the form of sustained operating expenses. Qualcomm, welcome to the ranks of the disgruntled.