Lest you had forgotten, antenna TV is being forcibly retired by the FCC in favor of a hard-wired digital connection that will offer better picture and sound. Earlier this year, the transition deadline–the date that antenna TV would officially turn off–was pushed back by Congress to allow people to get converter boxes that they’d need for old TVs to use the new DTV signal. Well, that deadline is now only two days away: June 12. The airwaves are about to go silent.
But not for long. Back in January, the FCC auctioned off various chunks of the analog spectrum formerly occupied by antenna TV for almost $20 billion. The biggest winners were AT&T and Verizon, who scored almost three-quarters of the available spectrum combined. Other blocks were made available to smaller companies to prevent the titans from muscling out competition completely; over 1,000 licenses were sold to 101 bidders.
So what’s it for? Verizon will use its block of spectrum, called C-block, to build their 4G LTE high-speed mobile network, which will launch in 2010. AT&T will be using their block to similar ends; the company also plans an LTE network for the end of the decade. To see the FCC’s auction results, click here.
To learn more about the transition, check out the New York Times guide to digital television.