The NAB urged the FCC to allow television stations to use TV White Spaces, where available, to help in the transition to Next Gen television transmission. The broadcast’s lobby’s gripe with the agency was in response to what NAB said were “erroneous arguments” made by the Open Technology Institute at New America.
NAB disputes the OTI assertion that the FCC’s 2016 Next Gen TV Notice of Proposed Rulemaking “did not request comment on whether or not to give broadcasters vacant channels for the transition to ATSC 3.0.”
The broadcast association says the FCC directly asked in the NPRM: “should we consider allowing broadcasters to use vacant in-band channels remaining in a market after the incentive auction repack to serve as temporary host facilities for ATSC 1.0 or ATSC 3.0 programming by multiple broadcasters?”
NAB said there’s no legal or policy reason to prevent broadcasters from using television channels to improve free local television service, “with public interest obligations far exceeding those of the companies that fund OTI. Allowing broadcasters to use vacant, in-band channels where available remains the single most helpful step the Commission could take to minimize consumer disruption.”
On the other side of the argument is New America’s Open Technology Institute, whose funders include Google, the Gates and DISH, among others. OTI joined with Consumers Union and Public Knowledge to urge the FCC to reject what they call a “vacant channel spectrum giveaway proposal.” They say allowing this action would “derail efforts to use vacant TV White Space channels to bridge the rural digital divide.”
They also said allowing broadcasters to use TV White Spaces would “impose costs on other parties (e.g., low power TV, wireless microphone and cable operators) to subsidize the broadcasters’ ambition to compete with mobile carriers who, unlike broadcast licensees, paid for their spectrum at auction.” Comments? Email Us.
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
April 29, 2019
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