Some lawmakers have endorsed a plan to lease South Carolina’s Educational Television’s excess broadband capacity in order to create a wireless broadband network. By federal law, the state must keep five percent of the broadband for its own usage. Advocates of leasing the broadband want to use another 20 percent of the spectrum to generate money for the state. Opponents say the state is practically giving away the spectrum, since increases in technology may make it 100 times more valuable in another 30 years.
A subcommittee this past week endorsed a 30-year lease worth over 140 million dollars with two private companies
ETV converted to a digital format from its analog format, freeing up 95 percent of its capacity.
The Joint Bond Review Committee will consider the agreement this week. The Budget and Control Board will have final approval.
The plan calls for 70 percent of the leased capacity to be used in urban areas, with 30 percent devoted to rural areas.