FCC Looks to Jumpstart ATSC 3.0

Posted on June 30th, 2020 by

In an action designed to spur broadcast stations to begin providing ATSC 3.0 services, the FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling and simultaneously issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to foster growth of next-generation data services.

The Declaratory Ruling clarified that the FCC’s television station ownership restrictions do not apply to the lease of spectrum to provide what it dubbed “Broadcast Internet Services.”  This ruling enables stations to lease spectrum to others in the same market without having such use trigger ownership attribution restrictions.  The FCC was concerned that stations were not moving forward with providing Broadcast Internet Services because of the perceived attribution legal issue.

In the rulemaking proceeding, the FCC asks numerous questions about how to modify its existing ancillary and supplementary service rules that were first adopted 20 years ago.  The rulemaking is wide-open to a number of revisions, including new services, whether and how to calculate fees on such services, and any regulatory barrier that is hindering development.