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08.19.2005
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
CPB, PBS agree on Next Generation Interconnection System

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS this month agreed on the design, implementation and management of the $120 million Next Generation Interconnection System (NGIS), a major project to replace and upgrade public broadcasting’s existing satellite-based distribution infrastructure.

Replacing the current backbone of public television, which depends upon satellite leases that expire in October 2006, the NGIS will use a hybrid satellite/fiber architecture designed by PBS Technology and Operations to take advantage of advanced file transfer technologies, permitting stations to automate the content they receive from PBS.

The system will allow greater programming flexibility and free local resources to be redirected elsewhere. It will also generate efficiencies at PBS, reducing operating costs over time. The NGIS will be fully operational by the end of 2006.

Under the Public Broadcasting Act, CPB provides funding for the interconnection systems required by public television and public radio. Congress has provided special appropriations to defray those costs. To date, it has provided $50 million of the total NGIS price tag, and the Senate appropriations committee has recommended making an additional $40 million available in fiscal year 2006.

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