In your Aug. 29 editorial ("So Much for Promises"), you specifically mention Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair Broadcast Group did not make any promises to the Congress or to anyone else on the subject of high-definition television. The decisions made by the Sinclair Broadcast Group were made for the benefit of our public shareholders and the broadcast industry as a whole, based on practical economic realities and not on wishful thinking.
The $70 billion that you have assumed would be collected by the government for the digital spectrum is the first wishful thought that has been propagated in recent discussions.
Sinclair and others like us in this industry must be able to show that our invested capital will bring a fair return for our shareholders. The cost of a total HDTV implementation is estimated to be in the order of $300 million for the entire Sinclair group of stations. So far there has been no viable business plan that can show any measurable return on that capital in a timely fashion. The FCC has mandated that we transmit digital television by certain dates. We, therefore, now find it necessary to move forward with other permitted uses for the digital television service.
Congress in its wisdom adopted a law that allowed for the most flexible use of the new digital technology and the spectrum that was loaned to the nation's broadcasters, knowing full well that HDTV was only one use of digital television and that it was not the govern- ment's role to micromanage the roll-out of a new technology. It was and should be a market decision.
NAT S. OSTROFF
Vice President, New Technology
Sinclair Broadcast Group