Voluntary ATSC 3.0 Order Expected in November

Posted on October 31st, 2017 by

The FCC is expected to adopt an order in a several-months-old proposed rulemaking authorizing TV stations to voluntarily begin use of “Next Generation” or ATSC 3.0 technology in their licensed television operations.

The draft order includes many details about how a station would transition to ATSC 3.0, and the associated requirement to continue broadcasting an ATSC 1.0 signal in the station’s DMA. A station’s ATSC 3.0 and 1.0 signals must be simulcast, and the FCC intends to temporarily license “simulcast” channels as part of a modification to a station’s single broadcast license (i.e., a station will hold one license, with authorization to transmit in 3.0 at one site, and 1.0 at another). The simulcast requirement will sunset in five years unless the FCC extends it. Stations’ ATSC 1.0 signals will be entitled to mandatory cable and satellite carriage.

The FCC’s draft Report & Order is a compelling must-read for every television broadcaster – full power, Class A, and LPTV — especially for those interested in what is fast crystalizing into a futuristic-looking television band where stations become part of cooperative web of shared transmission arrangements. We’ll have more on ATSC 3.0 after the FCC adopts the new rules.