FCC Authorizes Five More Stations to Deploy ATSC 3.0

PHOENIX—The FCC has granted requests from five commercial and public TV broadcasters for permission to test next-gen TV broadcasts from the transmission facilities of Univision's KFPH-CD, which began ATSC 3.0 broadcasts last March.

"We are delighted to learn this week that the FCC is granting authority for ABC affiliate KNXV, NBC affiliate KPNX, CBS affiliate KPHO, Independent KTVK, and PBS station KAET to utilize the transmission facilities of ATSC 3.0 station KFPH-CD in collaborative testing,” said said Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV, which is coordinating the Phoenix test market. “This is a very positive step forward and we are grateful for the authority to move the Phoenix Model Market project forward."

The stations that were approved by the FCC week are part of the Phoenix Model Market project that was announced last November. The goals of the Phoenix Model Market project—which now total 12 stations—are to test ATSC 3.0 television service and new business models, to develop a framework to facilitate nationwide deployment of ATSC 3.0 service (including best practices), to test consumer devices, and to collect real-time consumer input through surveys and focus groups.

[Read: Phoenix Model Market Launches Next Gen TV Broadcasts]

Last November, the FCC adopted rules authorizing the transmission of the Next Gen TV standard, with a streamlined licensing process for the new technology effective this past July. But while the Commission's Media Bureau is making changes to its licensing system, stations will must seek experimental authority. Such authority was granted to five more stations that are participating in the Phoenix Model Market project.

In March, the FCC authorized Univision's KFPH-CD to transmit ATSC 3.0 transmissions as part of the model market "test bed" in Phoenix. At that time, the FCC said that any other stations wanting to utilize the Univision station for transmission of ATSC 3.0 signals must seek permission to do so.

The FCC approval letter notes that "in their applications, the Licensees have committed to continuing to air an ATSC 1.0 signal over their existing channels using their licensed facilities" and that "because of spectrum capacity constraints and in order to accommodate all of the stations that plan to participate in the Phoenix Market Trial, the Stations have requested flexibility to rotate their individual ATSC 3.0 guest signals on and off the ATSC 3.0 host station, KFPH-CD."

Participating TV groups and stations in the Phoenix Model Market include: 

  • Arizona State University's Arizona PBS (KAET)
  • Arizona Television’s KAZT Channel 7 (Independent)
  • E.W. Scripps’ KNXV (ABC)
  • Fox Television Stations' KSAZ (Fox) and KUTP (MyTV)
  • Meredith’s KPHO (CBS) and KTVK (Independent)
  • Nexstar Media Group’s KASW (CW)
  • Telemundo Station Group’s KTAZ (Telemundo)
  • TEGNA’s KPNX (NBC), and
  • Univision’s KFPH-CD (UniMas) and KTVW (Univision)

For a comprehensive list of TV Technology’s ATSC 3.0 coverage, see our ATSC3 silo.

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.