Thursday, January 14, 2016

Local stations could disappear to FCC auction; ATT brings back unlimited cell data but with a real catch

Brian Fung reports the steps on an FCC airwave auction, one deadline passing Tuesday night, meaning “Your local TV station may have just secretly decided to go off the air”, the Washington Post, p. A15, Thursday. Smaller market stations might consolidate to sell space, meaning fewer channels, but the new space could support more high-end 4G wireless in rural areas.

I can remember, back in the late 1950s, some smaller markets (like Huntsville AL) had more small local stations than did Washington DC.

ATT is bringing back an unlimited data wireless plan, but with a catch.  You have to subscribe to its DirectTV or U-Verse TV, as CNET (Marguerite Reardon) explains here.

That wouldn’t sound practical for someone that already has cable.  For example, XFINITY is (for pragmatic purposes) unlimited, compared to Verizon mobile as a hot spot.  But Xfinity is dependent on a physical wire to your house, which can go down and can require service.  In practice, I use the Verizon hotspot (with data limits) on the road or when Xfinity goes down.  It would be desirable if Verizon would combine FIOS service for TV with unlimited data cellular.   It is not easy for someone to change providers quickly when he or she as a lot of everyday work to do (as I do).  You wonder how Comcast deals with all this in its sales rep training, which it pimps in TV spots.

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