-->

Register now for our FREE webinar series, Streaming Media West Connect, happening September 29 - October 2!

NAB 2016: FCC Chairman Talks Next-Gen TV, Wireless Auction

Article Featured Image

The technology for ATSC 3.0 is in place, said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. Now the question is how it will impact the marketplace.

Wheeler spoke today at the 2016 NAB conference in conversation with NAB executive committee member Marci Burdick.

"The technology, kudos. I've been hearing about 3.0 for a long time and it's happening," Wheeler said. "Hooray for the new technology."

Currently in testing, the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) 3.0 standard will bring 4K (3840 x 2160) 60 fps resolution to over-the-air broadcasts, however it will break backwards compatibility with existing televisions. It's expected to go public within the decade. While Wheeler was enthused about the technology, he noted that there are still questions about what to do with older sets that only support ATSC 1.0.

Much of the discussion centered on the ongoing Incentive Auction of wireless spectrum. Wheeler chose his words carefully. While he doesn’t know how long the auction will take (the NAB estimates many years), Wheeler says he'll have an idea of the dollar value of the auctioned spectrum by June, and that will set the stage for the next phase of the auction.

"This is designed to pair supply and demand, and we don't know what that's going to be," Wheeler said. The wireless industry has been clamoring for more spectrum, and now it's up to them to step forward and bid on the inventory, he said. If they don't bid enough, he's committed to restarting the process. Giving a small hint as to what he's seeing, he noted that companies are indeed showing up so far.

On the issue of cable carriage agreements, something that often leaves subscribers without access to favorite channels, Wheeler said, "What has happened is that too often corporate bickering has resulted in consumer harm." He called it an important issue and said the FCC hoped to arrive at a settlement by the end of the year.

The FCC's proposal to open up the cable box market didn't come up during the discussion.                        

"Broadcasting knits us together. It's always knitted us together," Wheeler said.

Streaming Covers
Free
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Related Articles

NAB 17: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Delivers Anti-Regulation Keynote

Net neutrality was not on the agenda, as Pai expressed a zeal for clearing out regulations and getting the government out of the way of business.

Ajit Pai to Lead FCC, Signals Changes to Net Neutrality Rules

A longtime voice of dissent at the FCC, Pai is expected to reduce media regulations and open the door for more big media mergers.

Comcast Hit With FCC Complaint Over Net Neutrality Violations

Public Knowledge has filed a complaint alleging that Comcast is violating its own merger agreement and the FCC's Open Internet rules.

NAB 2015: Should the FCC Regulate OTT Video Providers Like MVPDs?

In a spirited NAB panel discussion, an FCC commissioner and four industry experts debated the pros and cons of regulating online video services.

FCC's "Open Internet" Proposal Fails to Address Real Issues

In the latest salvo in the debate over "net neutrality," the FCC released a fact sheet outlining proposed rules, but they don't address interconnection and ISP competition

FCC Proposes Changing MVPD Definition

Says online video's growth requires updating its interpretation of "video distributor" to include any company that delivers multiple programming channels online