Broadcasters Crow as Earthquake Rocks Cell Service

By Chris Ariens Comment

National Journal has an interesting story about how the National Association of Broadcasters jumped into action this afternoon after the Virginia earthquake bragging about how while broadcasters stayed on the air during the 5.8 quake, many cellphones could not connect.

NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton tweeted, “Broadcasters as a lifeline: DC’s Emergency Mgt. Assn. advises residents: ‘Stay tuned to radio and TV news updates.'” NAB’s Zamir Ahmed tweeted, “Wireless networks overwhelmed after VA quake but radio and TV broadcasters still on the air providing lifeline info.”

Broadcasters have been fighting to make the case to policymakers about the importance of over-the-air television amid efforts to push broadcasters to give up some of their spectrum to meet the growing demand for wireless broadband. The NAB has been arguing that broadcasters’ “one to many” model of providing news and entertainment is a much more efficient use of spectrum than the “one-to-one” model of the wireless phone industry.

Sprint and Verizon say any problems were due to overusage and not caused by network breakdowns.