Focusing on Post-Auction Landscape

Posted on April 29th, 2016 by

The FCC has recently heard from the TV industry on two critical issues that will affect the post-auction television landscape.

The first is repacking the TV band, where many issues remain unresolved and the industry is pushing for repacking to be done on a regional basis as opposed to all at once on a nationwide basis. Citing the major crunch on tower climbers and antenna manufacturers, regional repack proponents believe a geographically restricted approach makes more sense. The FCC has not made any official comment on the regional repack proposal as of yet.

The second item receiving attention is a proposal by major representatives of the TV industry that the FCC modify its rules to allow a voluntary transition to new digital television standard ATSC 3.0, which will use 6 Mhz of TV spectrum to deliver signals via an IP based protocol and the use of multiple sites within a station coverage area.

The proposal, filed two weeks ago, asks for recognition of the protocol so that stations can decide on their own to transition to the new standard, on a time schedule that they chose. Some stations may be interested in making such a transition during the post-auction repack.

The FCC has acted quickly on this proposal, with the Chairman welcoming it with a “hooray” comment at the recent NAB convention in Las Vegas, and a public notice establishing a May 26, 2016 comment deadline so that the FCC can later consider it in a rulemaking proceeding. Comments can be filed electronically through the FCC’s electronic comment filing system.