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ATSC 3.0 Firm Launches Virtual MVPD

Edge Networks Inc., an ATSC 3.0-focused company headed by veteran wireless technologist Todd Achilles, plans to launch a virtual pay TV service targeted to secondary and tertiary markets without ample choice for cost-efficient high-speed internet.

The privately funded Edge Networks, which received permission last July from the FCC to establish two ATSC 3.0 stations in the Boise market, plans to launch the pay TV service this summer in Boise.

Evoca will offer more than 80 channels, including the major broadcast networks, as well as “major” news, sports and entertainment HD channels found in other major virtual pay TV bundles, Achilles told Multichannel News. The bundle will include some 4K programming. Access to major SVOD services will also be integrated.

The service will feature a proprietary settop box and over-the-air antenna, and will be priced at less than $50. Achilles, a former Hewlett Packard and T-Mobile executive, said many major details are still being hammered out. “But the service will have no hidden fees or surcharges, or this, that and the other,” he said.

“This is not a pure streaming service; we’re not clogging the internet with a bunch of redundant streams,” Achilles said, noting that Evoca will be based on ATSC 3.0‘s multicast capabilities.

ATSC 3.0, he noted, will provide “a great big pipe” to shuttle HVEC-encoded video over the air to homes in places like Boise, which often have limited choices for broadband access, and find themselves limited by usage caps that aren’t friendly to HD or 4K video streaming. Other rural markets don’t have access to broadband — or the ability to stream video — at all.

Evoca will still require an internet connection to work, but it will only require a “single-digit” megabits-per-second download speed to sufficient, Achilles said.

Aiming to eventually deploy its service nationally, Edge Networks will approach each market individually, providing a wireless internet solution, for example, to hard-to reach rural places.