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FCC Calls for Comments on NextGen TV Simulcast Petition

FCC seal
(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON—Following an official petition by NAB over the rules regarding NextGen TV simulcasting and multicast stream, the FCC is seeking comments from the industry on the issue. The initial deadline for comments has been set for Christmas Eve.

Earlier in November, the NAB asked the FCC to clarify and review issues pertaining to stations simulcastings NextGen TV signals. Specifically, NAB wanted clarification that the existing license framework for local simulcasting applies to a station’s simulcasted multicast streams as well as its primary stream. Also, the petition called for clarification, or a new rule if necessary, that the existing licensing framework for local simulcasting applies to multicast streams, even if such streams are not aired by the originating station.

Essentially, the FCC says that the NAB is asking the commission to recognize “the licensee who originated the programming rather than the licensee whose facilities are being used to distribute the programming is responsible for programming,” when it comes to simulcasting agreements involving multicast streams.

This is of particular interest, per NAB, when it comes to the deployment of ATSC 3.0, where stations are working together to simulcast ATSC 1.0 signals so as not to interrupt programming when transitioning to the NextGen TV standard.

According to the FCC’s announcement, the NAB believes that the actions outlined in its petition would provide a clear line of authority over the originator of multicast streams and therefore is “critical to ensuring that both commercial and noncommercial stations are willing to partner to help preserver service to viewers.”

NAB’s full petition is available through the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System.

Anyone wishing to file comments in response to the NAB’s petition can do so electronically through the ECFS, or through mail addressed to the Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, hand or messenger delivered filings are not being accepted.

The deadline for to file initial comments is Dec. 24. The reply comment deadline will be Jan. 25.