Summary of Legislative Language Proposed by Spectrum Evolution

Summary

1. There is an existing provision in the Communications Act (47 USC Sec 336(h)) for provision of digital data service by LPTV stations. It is limited to certain named stations plus a station in Alaska.

2. Our change allows any LPTV or Class A station to qualify for providing digital data service if it: a. Offers a non-subscription option (no charge to user, but could be advertiser supported. b. The free option meets the FCC’s speed criterion for broadband Internet access in rural areas (4 MB download, 1 MB upload today, but FCC may change it in the future). c. Provides at least one free television programming stream along with data, so that conventional TV service is preserved rather than replaced.

3. The existing provisions (47 USC Sec. 336(h)(6)(B) and 336(h)8(B)(ii)) stating that the FCC shall grant applications to move and modify facilities and to use boosters or auxiliary or multiple transmitter locations are modified to clarify that alternative modulation schemes (different from the conventional digital TV standard) may also be used, and more than one station may join together to form a multi-frequency broadband network.

4. There is no change in the existing prohibition against causing interference to other TV stations (including low power TV) or in the channels specified in the existing statute as not available for digital data.

5. A station that provides broadband service consistent with par. 2 will be classified as a Class A station under the existing law that gives Class A stations primary spectrum status (47 USC Sec. 336(f)(A)(2)).

6. The existing provision that says that Class A stations are not counted in applying multiple ownership rules is amended to remove the 1999 expiration date, so that it encompasses new digital data stations.

Result

a. LPTV stations are permitted to provide broadband, thus bringing the service to the public more quickly overall and especially more quickly to rural areas.

b. Stations providing digital data service get flexibility to use TV spectrum with more efficient technologies than what is now used.

c. TV programming is preserved. d. Stations that provide the required data and broadcast service get primary spectrum status.

47 U.S.C. Document

Download the 47 U.S.C. document (PDF).

Broadcast Engineering Interviews Greg Herman About the Spectrum Evolution Proposal

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