FCC Proposes ATSC 3.0 Deployment

WASHINGTON—A plan for voluntary adoption the “next-generation” television broadcasting transmission standard known as ATSC 3.0 has been proposed at the Federal Communications Commission, which represents a seminal event in the development of the standard.

“We propose to authorize television broadcasters to use the ‘Next-Generation’ broadcast television transmission standard associated with recent work of the Advanced Television Systems Committee on a voluntary, market-driven basis, while they continue to deliver current-generation digital television broadcast service, using the ATSC 1.0 standard to their viewers,” a 49-page Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released today stated.

Comments will be due on the NPRM 60 days after publication in the Federal Register; replies, 90 days after publication.

Both the National Association of Broadcasters and a spokesman for ONE Media, the Sinclair Broadcast subsidiary and ATSC 3.0 skunkworks, welcomed the news.

“We’re delighted that the commission will be issuing the rulemaking notice soon with the significant commitment of Chairman Pai to move quickly to final rules,” said Jerry Fritz, executive vice president of ONE Media. “The benefit for viewers and broadcasters alike are as profound as any developed in the past 90 years. The timing to implement the new standard in conjunction with the repack is a practical and strategic imperative.”

From Dennis Wharton, NAB executive vice president of communications: “NAB strongly supports the FCC moving ahead on two proceedings of significant importance to broadcasters—a rulemaking on Next-Gen television and an AM revitalization order. Both items will foster technological innovation, increase opportunities for minority and female owners, and create new and unique services for consumers.

“Chairman Pai deserves credit for departing from the past practice of both Republican and Democratic-controlled Commissions, and publicly releasing the proposals early to inject greater transparency in the FCC rulemaking process. We believe this action will provide greater clarity for stakeholders and greater trust from the public in dealing with the FCC going forward.”

TV Technology got it’s behind whipped on this one by sister publication B&C’s John Eggerton, who had the scoop, plus newly installed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai contributed a blog post on the deployment of ATSC 3.0 to B&C, in which he states, “Broadcasting remains an indispensable part of America’s communications landscape.”

Your humble servants at TV Technology will now dive into the 49-page order and report back with details. (Addendum, as promised, “FCC@3.0: OET-69, Public Interest, Yes; Tuner Edict, No,)

For more coverage from TV Technology, visit our ATSC 3.0 silo.

Addendum: Statement of Mark Richer, ATSC president:
“The development of ATSC 3.0 is a landmark in broadcasting, with hundreds of the best technical minds in the industry working on this next generation technology. The ATSC sees the commission’s Notice as another important step forward for Next-Gen TV. Core elements of the ATSC 3.0 standard already are approved and proven, which we hope will give the FCC and broadcasters confidence for voluntary implementation of ATSC 3.0. We’ll look forward to seeing how various stakeholders respond to the commission’s Notice, and we’re hopeful that the NPRM process will be completed in a timely manner.”