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NAB Opposes New Regulations Against Broadcast Internet Services

(Image credit: NAB)

WASHINGTON—Third time should not be the charm for the cable lobby’s efforts to create heightened regulatory mandates for new broadcast internet services, according to the NAB.

In reply comments filed to the FCC to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on potential changes to FCC rules to encourage broadcast internet services, the NAB attempts to refute what it says is a third attempt by the cable lobby to impose “unnecessary and unwarranted burdens” on broadcasters looking to implement the ATSC 3.0 standard and new broadcast-delivered internet services.

“Their arguments have not improved with repetition, and the commission should promptly dismiss them,” NAB said in its comments.

Broadcast internet essentially calls for the expansion of datacasting capabilities under ATSC 3.0. NCTA—The Internet & Television Association filed comments saying that all these new services should be subject to the same rules as traditional broadcast TV licensees to protect cable operators’ service from derogation. The FCC has already made one exception to this, regarding TV ownership rules. NCTA also says it would like to have fees charged to these new ancillary services.

NAB says that such an action is an attempt to “saddle innovative new services” with higher regulatory fees in an attempt to stifle potential competition for broadband services. NAB argues there is no basis to raise ancillary fees.

NCTA also was in support of requiring broadcasters to provide HD. NAB points out in its comments that the FCC has previously rejected arguments for this mandate, and that broadcasters already have strong market incentives to maintain HD service to the maximum extent possible.

In addition, NAB brings up comments from Public Knowledge, Consumer Reports and New America’s Open Technology Institute that calls for the collection of ancillary service fees on broadcasters to off-set costs for consumers to upgrade their equipment for ATSC 3.0. NAB says this would be a tax on broadcasters for services that don’t exist yet to subsidize equipment that is not necessary at this time.

“These proposals for heightened regulatory mandates and additional service fees are both cynical and unnecessary,” the NAB said. “As with nearly every other industry under the commission’s purview, innovation is best unleashed when the government assists rather than hinders experimentation.”

NAB urges the FCC to reject these proposals expeditiously.

The full NAB comments are available online