Press Release

Public Knowledge Defends Public Interest in Next-Gen TV Comments to FCC

May 27, 2016 , , , ,

Yesterday, Public Knowledge joined the Open Technology Institute at New America and Common Cause in filing comments with the Federal Communications Commission defending the public interest in next-generation TV technologies, specifically the ATSC 3.0 digital broadcast standard. Public Knowledge encourages the FCC to maintain and strengthen the public interest obligations that local broadcasters must meet as part of their role as trustees of the public airwaves, as the agency and broadcasting industry move forward on the next generation of broadcast technology.

The following can be attributed to John Gasparini, Policy Fellow at Public Knowledge:

“The social contract between the public and those entrusted with free, over-the-air broadcast licenses remains the same regardless of the broadcast technology used. As broadcasters seek to upgrade their technology, so too should we upgrade the public interest obligations to which those broadcasters commit to the 21st century.

“This social contract subjects broadcasters to political advertising rules, localism and diversity requirements, obligations to provide educational and children’s programming, accessibility mandates, emergency alert system requirements, and public file disclosure duties, among other public interest obligations. As the Commission and the broadcasters move forward with the process of considering this technology update, it is critical that these public interest obligations are similarly updated.

“In addition, the transition by broadcasters to ATSC 3.0 providers a potential win-win between broadcasters and those using the ‘TV white spaces,’ consumer devices that use the empty spaces between TV channels to deliver internet services like WiFi and broadband access. If the transition is handled properly so that the standards are compatible, broadcasters can use the equipment developed for TV white spaces to deliver their own internet services. This would provide an additional market for TVWS equipment manufacturers, making these devices cheaper for all consumers.”

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