ATSC 3.0 is being marketed under the consumer brand "NextGen TV," but the new broadcast signaling standard is about much more than TV. It's being positioned as a new broadband pipe that can complement or perhaps even compete against other types of broadband services while also playing a role in future 5G networks.
ATSC 3.0 will support several new video services and applications, including 4K TV and immersive audio, interactive TV, video-on-demand and targeted advertising. But a vote set by the FCC for next month is counting on ATSC 3.0 to become a platform that also supplies "Broadcast Internet" services.
The consumer brand for ATSC 3.0 services might already be in need of a update as 'Broadcast Internet' services start to enter the picture.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced Monday that the Commission will vote on a plan that promotes the build-out of Broadcast Internet services over ATSC 3.0-powered networks.
Touting ATSC 3.0's one-to-many architecture, Carr holds that broadcasters will be able to use the standard paired with existing spectrum to beam out 25 Mbit/s data streams. And he envisions Broadcast Internet services playing a role that extends well beyond traditional home broadband.
"Broadcast Internet could play a pivotal role in autonomous vehicles, IoT, smart ag, and telemedicine, among other applications," Carr said in a statement about the planned vote. He also envisions ATSC 3.0 playing a role in 5G by augmenting coverage or adding capacity by shifting data off cellular networks.
"And for many Americans, this means that they could soon have another option for high-speed downloads – from movies to applications – delivered over the same spectrum that they've long used for over-the-air television," Carr said in keynote remarks for an online session hosted this week by the National Association of Broadcasters and the Consumer Technology Association. "ATSC 3.0 is the technology that will allow broadcasters to play an even greater role in this converged market for connectivity."
But to build out and enable next-gen Broadcast Internet services, the FCC "should remove the overhang of legacy media regulations," Carr added. "The FCC will be voting on a measure that does just that."
The planned June vote focuses on a Declaratory Ruling and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would "remove the overhang on legacy media regulations," particularly with respect to rules on broadcast station ownership, said Carr, who touted ATSC 3.0 as "new broadband pipe" in remarks at last year's NAB Show.
In practice, Carr added, the adjusted rules will help a broadcaster or another entity strike lease agreements with multiple broadcasters in a single geographic market to provide Broadcast Internet services without triggering the FCC's attribution or ownership rules for television stations.
It faces an uphill climb, but Viasat is exploring a plan to build 300 low-earth orbit satellites that could deliver low-latency broadband service and qualify for the US Rural Digital Opportunities Fund.
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