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T-Mobile Will Pay to Move Noncom Translators

T-Mobile will cover the expenses of public TV's low-power translators that have to move following the auction to make way for wireless forward auction winners—T-Mobile was the largest—to move in.

Translators were not protected in the post-incentive auction TV station repack.

“We’re proud to collaborate with broadcasters across the country as they transition to other channels, and doubly proud to support local public television’s public service mission and help ensure millions of kids in rural America continue to have access to public television’s high-quality, educational programming,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile chief technology officer  in a statement. “Moves like this will help us expand our network into these underserved areas and give consumers a new level of wireless coverage and choice.”

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PBS and America's Public Television Stations said they had struck the agreement with T-Mobile.

“Public broadcasting has been one of America’s greatest and most enduring public-private partnerships,” said PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger. “We are thrilled that T-Mobile sees the value that public broadcasting brings to the American people and is helping to ensure that everyone—regardless of income or zip code—continues to have access to PBS, including vital emergency alerts and programs that help prepare children for success in school.”

That agreement drew plaudits from the National Association of Broadcasters. "We are gratified to see T-Mobile embrace the principle that viewers should not lose service during the repack," said executive VP, communications, Dennis Wharton. "We will continue to work to ensure that viewers are protected during the post-auction transition."

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was equally pleased.

“I commend PBS, APTS, and T-Mobile for developing a creative solution to assist millions of TV viewers during the post-incentive auction transition," he said in response to the news. "The financial assistance provided by T-Mobile will help the many Americans who rely on public television, especially in rural areas. It will also help expand wireless connectivity in rural America. Today’s announcement is precisely the kind of cross-industry cooperation we need to ensure a smooth transition for broadcasters, wireless providers, and American consumers.”