On May 26, OTI filed comments on the NAB Petition for Next Generation Broadcast TV Standard. Read the full comments here.
Public Knowledge supports the introduction of innovative new technologies to the public. Next-generation television using the ATSC 3.0 standard promises a wealth of new consumer-friendly features, including sharper pictures, better mobile viewing, improved emergency alerts, new opportunities for community engagement and novel interactivity with over-the-air television viewers. But these innovations must not upend broadcasters’ statutory obligation to serve the public interest.1 Local television broadcasters are a critical source of local news, serve the educational and information needs of children and offer an invaluable lifeline in times of crisis and natural disasters. Local broadcasters also play an important role in reaching diverse audiences and providing inclusive, freely accessible programming. And local broadcasters help advance the democratic process through a series of regulatory obligations on political advertising such as reasonable access to television by candidates, lowest unit rate charges in the time preceding many types of electoral contests, and equal opportunities for competing candidates.
Authorizing the use of a new technical standard may limit or preclude broadcasters from satisfying these and other public interest obligations. Prior to authorizing the deployment of ATSC 3.0, the FCC must examine how broadcasters will fulfill the public interest obligations on which their licenses depend. The development of ATSC 3.0 also offers the FCC an opportunity to renew and enhance broadcasters’ public interest mission that the Communications Act requires as a condition of broadcast licensing.
Download the full comments below: