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NCTA: ATSC Simulcast Sunset Is Viewer-Unfriendly

NCTA-The Internet & Television Association says that the "voluntary" in the ATSC 3.0 advanced broadcast transmission standard the FCC approved means for everyone, including MVPDs and viewers.

That came in reply comments on its request that the FCC rethink several aspects of that framework.

NCTA says that allowing broadcasters to bundle carriage agreements for both their current ATSC 1.0 signals and the new ATSC 3.0 compels premature carriage of the latter with the result being higher costs for MVPDs and customers.

Related: NAB Says FCC Should Reject 3.0 Recon Petitions

NCTA also says that allowing the requirement that broadcasters deliver substantially similar signals on both ATSC 1.0 and 3.0 after five years would allow broadcasters to downgrade signals to SD.

Broadcasters argue that the FCC should not consider NCTA's petition because those issues were raised in initial comments on the decision, and the FCC decided to allow for bundled retrans negotiations and the sunset.

But NCTA says that the FCC did not seek comment on whether the simulcast mandate should sunset whether or not any broadcaster had yet begun transmitting in ATSC 3.0, or consider how the sunset could harm viewers.

"Given the current state of the marketplace, the rational policy would be for the Commission to monitor the roll-out of ATSC 3.0 and maintain the substantially similar requirement until the use of ATSC 3.0 is further along in the marketplace. The Commission can then determine the appropriate sunset," NCTA said.