Comment Deadline Set on Paperwork Requirements For ATSC 3.0 Moves

FCC can't require new reporting until OMB signs off

The FCC has set May 7 as the deadline for comment on the information-collection requirements of its ATSC 3.0 rollout framework.

The commission is required to solicit input per the Paperwork Reduction Act, which charges the Office of Management and Budget with insuring the benefits of the additional reporting requirements of a new reg outweigh the costs.

Related: ATSC 3.0 Marches On

March 5 marked the official launch of the new ATSC 3.0 next-gen broadcast transmission standard, at least in terms of the FCC's authorization of the new voluntary rollout, but it can't enforce any of the new reporting requirements until OMB approves them.

OMB will need to sign off on four new requirements: 1) Broadcasters are required to file an application to move its ATSC 1.0 signal to a host station (the FCC is requiring stations to team up in a market, with one delivering both station's signals in the current 1.0 standard and the other delivering both ATSC 3.0 next-gen signals); 2) broadcasters must air consumer notices to inform viewers of changes; 3) broadcasters must provide written notices to MVPDs when they move their ATSC 1.0 signals to a host station; 4) broadcasters must maintain a written copy of any local simulcasting agreement.

The FCC is seeking input on: "Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees."

A politically divided FCC voted 3-2 on Nov. 16, 2017,  to allow for the voluntary rollout of the standard. That came over the objections of Democrats on the commission and in Congress, who argued that it was a gift to Sinclair or a rush to a standard that could leave viewers paying for the change through new TV's or equipment of higher cable prices.

ATSC 3.0 will allow TV stations to do geo-targeted ads and emergency alerts, video on demand and other interactive services using a broadband return path for viewers with Internet access, and provide those high-high definition 4K pictures.