FCC Takes Action on Broadcast Ownership and NextGenTV

The FCC this week voted on partisan lines to update broadcast ownership rules and to authorize a new television transmission standard.

As the commission prepared to vote on the ownership provisions, including the elimination of the newspaper/broadcast and radio/television cross-ownership rules, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (R) said, “The media ownership regulations of 2017 should match the media marketplace of 2017.” However, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (D) was not pleased. “Mark my words, today will go down in history as the day when the FCC abdicated its responsibility to uphold the core values of localism, competition, and diversity in broadcasting,” she said.

In the move to authorize ATSC 3.0 (NextGenTV), aimed at capitalizing on the cross-sections of broadcasting and the internet, the agency approved an order meant to allow for use of the new standard on a “voluntary, market-driven basis.” Supporters noted its promise not only for superior audio and video capabilities, but also public safety and accessibility possibilities. While the Democrat commissioners expressed worries about possible negative ramifications for consumers, Commissioner Mike O’Rielly (R) pushed back against what he perceived as “a parade of horribles and hypotheticals.” Likewise, Chairman Pai highlighted safeguards in the order and called out efforts by detractors to “strangle” NextGenTV with regulations those same critics would likely recoil from if attempted to be imposed on Silicon Valley innovators. In a stand for “freedom and opportunity,” he proudly voted for the voluntary use of the new standard.

Find more here about these new orders and other actions by the commission at its November Open Meeting.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: November 17, 2017

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