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FCC Says ‘Broadcast Internet’ Comments Due Aug. 17

(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON—The FCC has set a timeline for interested parties to share their thoughts on new “broadcast internet” services that can be part of the transition to the ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV standard, asking for all comments due on or before Aug.  17.

The commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on June 9 that seeks comment on whether or how existing rules should be clarified or modified to promote ancillary services that emerge during the transition to NextGen TV. In the NPRM, the FCC says it “seeks to promote and preserve free, universally available, local broadcast television by providing a clear regulatory landscape that permits licensees the flexibility to succeed in a competitive market and incentivizes the most efficient use of prime spectrum.”

PLUS: What Is 'Broadcast Internet?'

Specifically, this includes general comments on the potential new uses of the new technological capability, as well as any current regulatory barriers to deployment. The commission then wants to know if any changes or clarifications are needed to the ancillary and supplementary service fee rules and the rules defining derogation of service and analogous service.

“In doing so, we seek to encourage the robust usage of broadcast television spectrum capacity for the provision of broadcast internet services consistent with statutory directives,” the FCC said.

In the late '90's at the beginning of the DTV transition, the commission set in place rules that allowed broadcasters to provide ancillary services within their digital signal (most of which took the form of "diginets") that incurred a fee on revenues from these services. The commission is seeking to revise these rules in its broadcast internet proceedings. 

Already, industry organizations like NAB and American Public Television Stations have issued thoughts on broadcast internet. The FCC has even already come out and said that current TV ownership rules do not apply to these new services. But this opportunity will allow for official comments submitted to the commission.

Comments can be filed electronically over the internet using the FCC’s ECFS system, or as a paper filing, though the FCC now has only one paper filing location available.

Again, the deadline for submitting comments is going to be Aug. 17; reply comments will then be due on or before Aug. 31.

The official NPRM was published in the Federal Register on July 16.