FCC’s Carr: ‘ATSC 3.0, a new broadband pipe’

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With a broad coalition of US broadcast television station groups announcing plans to deploy Next-Gen TV in the 40 largest US TV markets by the end of 2020, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has described the ATSC 3.0 digital television standard as “a pretty exciting technology that can bring new and creative services to market”.

Delivering a keynote speech at NAB Show 2019, Carr said this was an exciting and transformative time for broadcasters. “And one of the biggest reasons for this is the technology we’re discussing at this afternoon’s event: ATSC 3.0.”

“In my view, ATSC 3.0 is part of a broader shift we’re seeing towards next-generation connectivity—one that is going to usher in a new wave of innovation and opportunity for Americans,” he declared. “You see it on the wireless side with the buildout of 5G networks. You see it a couple hundred miles above us with a new generation of low-earth orbit satellites ready to launch. And you see it across the country as fixed broadband providers upgrade and extend their networks to support new use cases.”

According to Carr, up to now, a lot of the buzz around ATSC 3.0 has been tied to the promise of Next-Gen TV. “And looking around the show floor today, you can certainly see why. This new standard will bring 4K and Ultra HD video to the airwaves. It will enable broadcast TV signals to be delivered right to your smartphone or tablet. And it will usher in a more interactive, accessible, and personalised experience for the viewing public,” he suggested.

He said that it was important that the FCC had authorised broadcasters to start experimenting with ATSC 3.0, giving them the freedom to innovate—a freedom that their competitors and many others in the tech sector already enjoyed.

“And when I think about the ways that broadcasters can use that freedom to innovate, one use case stands out to me: ATSC 3.0 as a new and competitive broadband pipe. The technology has the potential deliver a 25 Mbps data stream to Americans all over the US As an IP-based standard, ATSC 3.0 will enable broadcasters to leverage the same protocols that we use today in our broadband networks. And there’s interesting work ongoing to solve for the return path, where that type of communication is needed,” he noted.

“While it’s hard to predict all of the consumer applications or business cases that could benefit from this new broadband pipe, there’s already buzz around a few. Take autonomous vehicles, where ATSC 3.0 could play a pivotal role. It could send out targeted map and traffic data or provide large, fleet-wide software updates. For IoT, smart ag, and telemedicine applications, ATSC 3.0’s low-band spectrum could provide an efficient means of communicating with devices over wide areas. For 5G, it could help augment coverage or add capacity by shifting data off of cellular networks. And for consumers, it could present a new choice for downloading data, including movies or applications right to your device. As we look to push more and more data to the edge of the network, ATSC 3.0 could provide one way of moving all that data in an efficient and cost-effective manner,” he advised.

“In fact, we’re already seeing some interesting work in these areas. In Lansing, Michigan, a PBS affiliate located at Michigan State University applied for an experimental licence to use ATSC 3.0. They’re researching ways to use the signal to provide rich media content to households that currently don’t have a broadband connection. They’re also integrating ATSC 3.0 with the university’s IoT research, including automotive applications and exploring use cases from education to telemedicine to smart cities,” he reported.

He recognised that as with most transformative shifts, the possibilities of this one-to-many broadband pipe are difficult to predict today. “But what is clear is this: broadcasters are already exploring innovative new applications that are well outside their traditional comfort zone of delivering over-the-air television. I am glad that this FCC has been working to remove the outdated regulations that only made it harder for broadcasters to compete in today’s market,” he stated.

“While ATSC 3.0 may not have the same brand recognition as one your new hit shows, I think the American public are going to soon see the benefits of this technology. So I want to thank you again for the invitation to join you at this event and for letting me offer a few words on the future of ATSC 3.0 as a new broadband pipe. I look forward to learning more during this year’s show and hearing from you about the steps we can take at the FCC to support your good work,” he concluded.

With a broad coalition of US broadcast television station groups – including both network owned-and-operated stations and affiliates, as well as public broadcasters – announcing plans to deploy Next-Gen TV in the 40 largest US TV markets by the end of 2020, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has described the ATSC 3.0 digital television standard as “a pretty exciting technology that can bring new and creative services to market”.

Delivering a keynote speech at NAB Show 2019, Carr said this was an exciting and transformative time for broadcasters. “And one of the biggest reasons for this is the technology we’re discussing at this afternoon’s event: ATSC 3.0.”

“In my view, ATSC 3.0 is part of a broader shift we’re seeing towards next-generation connectivity—one that is going to usher in a new wave of innovation and opportunity for Americans,” he declared. “You see it on the wireless side with the buildout of 5G networks. You see it a couple hundred miles above us with a new generation of low-earth orbit satellites ready to launch. And you see it across the country as fixed broadband providers upgrade and extend their networks to support new use cases.”

According to Carr, up to now, a lot of the buzz around ATSC 3.0 has been tied to the promise of Next-Gen TV. “And looking around the show floor today, you can certainly see why. This new standard will bring 4K and Ultra HD video to the airwaves. It will enable broadcast TV signals to be delivered right to your smartphone or tablet. And it will usher in a more interactive, accessible, and personalised experience for the viewing public,” he suggested.

He said that it was important that the FCC had authorised broadcasters to start experimenting with ATSC 3.0, giving them the freedom to innovate—a freedom that their competitors and many others in the tech sector already enjoyed.

“And when I think about the ways that broadcasters can use that freedom to innovate, one use case stands out to me: ATSC 3.0 as a new and competitive broadband pipe. The technology has the potential deliver a 25 Mbps data stream to Americans all over the US As an IP-based standard, ATSC 3.0 will enable broadcasters to leverage the same protocols that we use today in our broadband networks. And there’s interesting work ongoing to solve for the return path, where that type of communication is needed,” he noted.

“While it’s hard to predict all of the consumer applications or business cases that could benefit from this new broadband pipe, there’s already buzz around a few. Take autonomous vehicles, where ATSC 3.0 could play a pivotal role. It could send out targeted map and traffic data or provide large, fleet-wide software updates. For IoT, smart ag, and telemedicine applications, ATSC 3.0’s low-band spectrum could provide an efficient means of communicating with devices over wide areas. For 5G, it could help augment coverage or add capacity by shifting data off of cellular networks. And for consumers, it could present a new choice for downloading data, including movies or applications right to your device. As we look to push more and more data to the edge of the network, ATSC 3.0 could provide one way of moving all that data in an efficient and cost-effective manner,” he advised.

“In fact, we’re already seeing some interesting work in these areas. In Lansing, Michigan, a PBS affiliate located at Michigan State University applied for an experimental licence to use ATSC 3.0. They’re researching ways to use the signal to provide rich media content to households that currently don’t have a broadband connection. They’re also integrating ATSC 3.0 with the university’s IoT research, including automotive applications and exploring use cases from education to telemedicine to smart cities,” he reported.

He recognised that as with most transformative shifts, the possibilities of this one-to-many broadband pipe are difficult to predict today. “But what is clear is this: broadcasters are already exploring innovative new applications that are well outside their traditional comfort zone of delivering over-the-air television. I am glad that this FCC has been working to remove the outdated regulations that only made it harder for broadcasters to compete in today’s market,” he stated.

“While ATSC 3.0 may not have the same brand recognition as one your new hit shows, I think the American public are going to soon see the benefits of this technology. So I want to thank you again for the invitation to join you at this event and for letting me offer a few words on the future of ATSC 3.0 as a new broadband pipe. I look forward to learning more during this year’s show and hearing from you about the steps we can take at the FCC to support your good work,” he concluded.


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