NAB Asks FCC For Maximum Next Gen Flexibility


In official Reply Comments filed June 8 with the FCC, the NAB urged the Commission to provide broadcasters “with as much flexibility as possible in adopting rules to govern the voluntary deployment of” the ATSC 3.0 next-generation broadcast TV standard.

In particular, they do not want the Commission to impose any heightened regulatory requirements on stations merely because they seek to migrate to the new standard.

The 16-page comments, in reply to “Authorizing Permissive Use of the ‘Next Generation’ Broadcast Television Standard,” seems to follow the market-driven philosophy guiding the Republican majority of the FCC.

The NAB argues, “Just as the Commission should not impose tuner mandates, it should not impose inflexible mandates on service area or signal quality that will unduly burden broadcasters, particularly those in smaller or rural markets.”

Similarly, just as the Commission need not mandate carriage of Next Gen signals for MVPDs, “it should not interfere with market forces that will drive adoption of this new technology and the innovations it will allow,” the NAB adds.

In particular, the NAB requests that it be left up to broadcasters to determine the details of simulcasting arrangements, and asks that the Commission adopt the flexible regulatory treatment for simulcasting arrangements broadcasters propose.

Meanwhile, the NAB addressed initial comments from T-Mobile and CTIA urging the Commission not to allow Next Gen deployment to extend the time frame for, or increase the costs of, repacking television stations assigned to new channels following the close of the broadcast spectrum incentive auction.

“The Commission should not delay or hinder the deployment of Next Gen TV due to concerns that such deployment will interfere with repacking,” the NAB says.  “There is no basis to believe that approval of the voluntary use of the Next Gen standard will delay repacking.”

Additionally, the NAB believes allowing broadcasters to use vacant in-band channels will help minimize consumer disruption.

The NAB concludes, “Expeditious approval of flexible rules for a voluntary, market-driven deployment of Next Gen TV will allow broadcasters to begin ushering in the future of television.”