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Group Opposes 'Harmonizing' ATSC 3.0 and Auction

Competitive wireless carriers, tech companies, Dish, Public Knowledge and the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition have jointly asked the FCC not to delay the early 2016 start of the broadcast incentive auction, including to "harmonize it" with the launch of a new transmission standard.

The letter is not anti-ATSC 3.0, one of the members points out, just anti-auction delay.

That joint request came in a statement filed with the commission, in which they said:

"The undersigned broadcasters, wireless carriers, trade associations, think tanks and public interest groups, including supporters of ATSC 3.0, strongly support the planned First Quarter 2016 start of the 600 MHz Incentive Auction. And we oppose delaying the Incentive Auction in an attempt to synchronize TV Station repacking and the transition to ATSC 3.0.  Our opposition to delaying the 600 MHz Incentive Auction does not express a joint position on the ATSC 3.0 standard itself for any purpose."

The National Association of Broadcasters has signaled it makes sense to do the transition to the new standard and what amounts to a new DTV transition post-auction at the same time. But with some major members not wanting a delay either, it has urged moving expeditiously to get the standard done rather than publicly push for delaying the auction to do so.

Others signing on to the joint statement were the Competitive Carriers Association, COMPTEL, The Consumer Electronics Association, Ellis Communications, Save Wireless Choice Coalition, Sprint and T-Mobile.

This week, Gigi Sohn, counselor to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, reiterated the timeline was still early 2016 for the incentive auction.

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.