Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Case Against Public Airwaves

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) will be introducing a bill soon that will speed the adoption of HDTV.

He wants to REQUIRE all television broadcasts to be digital by December 31, 2006 and that the analog spectrum be returned to the public (read government) to be used by emergency services etc.

The net effect of this bill is that analog TV sets will be useless without a conversion box because there will be no signal to recieve. Furthermore, he suggests that middle to low income households should get a rebate (taxpayer subsidized) on the conversion boxes.

I am upset about this but not seething with anger. First of all, I don't watch broadcast TV, neither do I have satellite or cable TV. I rent movies once in a while; that's about it. This isn't about TV; it's about liberty.

The government shouldn't own the airwaves in the first place. This article from the Mises website gives a rock solid argument against government ownership of the airwaves. The aforementioned article is also an excellent primer on private property rights.