FCC chairman Tom Wheeler was as good as his word. He promised at the recent NAB Show in Las Vegas that he would put broadcasters’ petition on the ATSC 3.0 standard out for comment by the end of the month, and he met that deadline with room to spare last week.
That next-gen standard would allow for interactivity, ultra high-definition, advanced emergency alerts, more channels in the same bandwidth (just as the FCC announced last week its initial target for reducing the number of those channels via auction), mobile broadcast TV and data-casting—all ways for broadcasters to remain competitive in the multiplatform world Wheeler has said broadcasters are still an important part of.
But asking for input is only the first step. We urge the FCC to be just as expeditious in reviewing that input (final comments are due June 27) and giving the thumbs-up.
As Wheeler works on his legacy in what will almost certainly be the final months of his tenure, leaving broadcasters with a transmission path to a competitive future should absolutely be on his to-do list.