FCC Temporarily Stays Sunset of ATSC A/322 Requirement for NextGen TV

ATSC 3.0
(Image credit: ATSC)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The FCC has temporarily stayed the March 6, 2023 sunset of the requirement that broadcaster primary streams comply with the ATSC A/322 standard, which defines the waveforms that ATSC 3.0 signals may take. 

The FCC is currently in the middle of a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asking for comments on whether the rule should be allowed to expire or if it should be extended. 

In issuing the stay, the FCC noted that in 2017, the Commission authorized television broadcasters to use the Next Gen TV transmission standard, also called “ATSC 3.0” on a voluntary, market-driven basis. 

Under Commission rules, the requirement for broadcaster primary streams to comply with the ATSC A/322 standard, defining the waveforms that ATSC 3.0 signals may take, was scheduled to sunset on March 6, 2023. 

In issuing the stay, the FCC noted that its proceeding on whether the rule should end or continue was ongoing. But “virtually all commenters addressing this question made arguments in favor of at least a temporary extension of the requirement to comply with A/322," the FCC reported. 

"It is unclear whether any consumer receive equipment could display 3.0 signals that were noncompliant with A/322, meaning the viewing public could lose all 3.0 service during any period of noncompliance by broadcasters.  Furthermore, there is no information in the record indicating that any party will be harmed by the grant of an interim stay. 

In light of the arguments offered by commenters for at least a temporary extension, the possibility of harm to the viewing public from the disruption of eliminating and then potentially resuming the requirement, and the lack of any reasonable expectation of sunset by those currently deploying 3.0 service in light of the pendency of this proceeding, we find the public interest is best served by preserving the status quo during this brief period of time in order to consider this open question.  We therefore stay the sunset of the A/322 rule, pending resolution of the Sunset's FNPRM.” 

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.