ATVA: Broadcasters Pull ATSC 3.0 Bait & Switch

The American Television Alliance is telling the FCC that broadcasters are pulling a bait and switch in their petition to the FCC to authorize the voluntary rollout of ATSC 3.0.

That came in reply comments to the FCC on that petition. The alliance, which includes cable and satellite operator MVPDs, said the bait was broadcasters' promise to simulcast 1.0 signals in their original format and the switch was a change of heart on that point.

“Broadcasters have walked away from their promise of a ‘voluntary’ transition, and their recent proposals threaten to strand [those] who rely on broadcasters for news, information, and entertainment," said ATVA spokesman Trent Duffy. 

ATVA argues that broadcasters petitioned the FCC with the promise of simulcasting and not getting into the "thorny" issue of must-carry rights. "Today, however, many broadcasters —including entities associated with two of the original Petitioners—have abandoned this 'core' commitment. They now say that simulcasting should be optional. They now say that the Commission should extend must-carry obligations to ATSC 3.0 signals. And they now say that they could comply with any ATSC 1.0 simulcasting requirement by transmitting different programming than that provided over ATSC 3.0—i.e., something other than simulcasts." 

Given those new asks, says ATVA, the FCC should impose "clear, enforceable rules of the road" on the ATSC 3.0 rollout to protect viewers over the air and over their systems.

Broadcasters, by contrast, have asked for a ”flexible” approach rather than such rules.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.