FCC chairman Ajit Pai plans a vote on a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) at the Feb. 23 public meeting that would allow broadcasters to start rolling out the new ATSC 3.0 transmission standard on a voluntary basis. The NPRM will also ask a lot of questions about how that should happen and its effect on the marketplace.
ACA commended Pai for issuing the draft and for asking all those questions.
One of those is: “whether small, rural, low-power, and NCE broadcasters would face unique circumstances with regard to the voluntary provision of ATSC 3.0 that we should consider in this proceeding," followed by suggestions on how to ease those burdens.
ACA says that is appropriate, but that the FCC should also ask the same questions about small MVPDs and how to ease their burdens as well.
Among the unique circumstances ACA says its members are subject to include: "Small MVPDs, for example, are uniquely vulnerable to broadcaster attempts to compel carriage of ATSC 3.0 signals. 4 Rural MVPDs are uniquely susceptible to changes in broadcast service areas—both during the proposed transition and with respect to ATSC 3.0 transmissions. 5 And capacity-constrained MVPDs will face unique burdens associated with the transition, particularly if forced to carry higher resolution ATSC 3.0 signals."
The FCC is required to gauge the impact of regulations on smaller entities, so ACA wants to make sure it doesn't forget about smaller MVPDs.