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APTS, NAB Ask FCC to Keep Rolling on DTS

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WASHINGTON—America’s Public Television Stations and the NAB are happy with the actions so far by the FCC when it comes to potential changes to rules regarding Distributed Transmission Systems (DTS) and the deployment of ATSC 3.0, and wants the commission to keep the momentum going.

Comments jointly filed by the APTS and NAB last week regarding a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on changes to DTS see the two organizations praising the FCC’s expeditious movement on the issue and hope to continue to do so as they believe rules that allow for the greater use of DTS systems will provide superior coverage, particularly at the edges of stations’ service areas, while also enhancing the principle of localism.

“As stations plan to transition to ATSC 3.0 in the coming months and years, each station’s specific deployment plans may in many cases be influenced by the potential for DTS deployments to provide robust coverage,” the comments read. “Expeditious approval of the requested changes will improve service to viewers, encourage investment and speed the rollout of ATSC 3.0 services.”

Specifically, the NPRM seeks comment on allowing DTS signals to provide coverage to the edges of station’s services even when the signals unavoidably spill over a station’s authorized service area. The NAB says while small, this could have a significant impact on the economic and practical feasibility of DTS deployments.

APTS and NAB also said that petitioners specifically avoided asking for more aggressive approaches that had previously been rejected so as to continue to promote localism. “Indeed, facilitating the ATSC 3.0 rollout and allowing superior coverage through use of DTS will enhance localism as ATSC 3.0 provides the capability for broadcasters to provider hyperlocal, geo-targeted updates and alerts,” per the comments.

One Media also filed comments that said that the “modest” modification proposed by the FCC for DTS would boost localism.

The APTS and NAB comments concluded that there should not be a delay in moving forward with these changes to examine “hypothetical concerns over the impact of expanded DTS operations on secondary and unlicensed services.” The two organizations say there is no basis for the FCC to expand the spectrum rights of secondary and unlicensed services in this proceeding.

The full comments from APTS and NAB are available online.