CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) joined a bipartisan group of 28 senators in sending a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel calling for expedited rollout of the Next Generation Television standard, advanced technology that will help broadcasters continue to provide quality local news and support an improved emergency alert system. The letter was led by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Todd Young (R-Ind.).
“The Next Gen TV standard is essential to the continued vitality and competitiveness of local television broadcasters’ free, local, and trusted service in our communities,” the senators wrote. “This pro-consumer, innovative technology will allow local stations to better serve their viewers with improved pictures and sound, interactive features, including expanded local news, advanced emergency alerting, and the ability to deliver to viewers the content that is most relevant to them, when they want it, where they want it.”
In addition to Senators Capito, Schatz, and Young, the letter was also signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Angus King (I-Maine), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and John Hoeven (R-N.D.).
The full letter can be found below or here.
Dear Chairwoman Rosenworcel:
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should take an active role in expediting the continued rollout of the Next Generation Television standard, or ATSC 3.0. The Next Gen TV standard is essential to the continued vitality and competitiveness of local television broadcasters’ free, local, and trusted service in our communities. This pro-consumer, innovative technology will allow local stations to better serve their viewers with improved pictures and sound, interactive features, including expanded local news, advanced emergency alerting, and the ability to deliver to viewers the content that is most relevant to them, when they want it, where they want it.
In the nearly seven years since broadcasters and the consumer electronics industry jointly petitioned the FCC to begin a voluntary transition to this new standard, major marketplace advancements have been made. Already, more than 60% of Americans have access to Next Gen TV. And, while local markets continue to launch every month, many outstanding markets face challenges like capital and spectrum constraints, particularly in rural and urban markets, respectively. At the same time, the video marketplace has evolved, and it is now a competitive imperative for video platforms to deliver ultra-high-definition (4K) programming. If broadcaster cannot compete for high-value, 4K sports programming for example, and it instead flows to tech platforms, broadcasters’ proven, decades-long investment in local news content will be undermined and, most important, viewers will lose a competitive option that is available for free over the air.
Accordingly, a successful ATSC 3.0 transition should be a priority of the FCC going forward to ensure that local broadcasters can continue to best serve their communities as a trusted source of local news. Just as the FCC has successfully championed other innovative technologies like 5G, Wi-Fi, and the 2009 digital TV transition, we believe there is an essential role for the FCC in helping broadcasters and viewers fully realize the potential of Next Gen TV. We urge the FCC to take an active role in addressing the complex – but imminently solvable – questions posed by the transition from ATSC 1.0 to 3.0, including working with Congress, public broadcasters, and industry to ensure consumers with legacy TVs are not harmed by any changes.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
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