The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should move quickly to approve voluntary use of the Next Generation TV standard. Next Gen TV requires no additional spectrum and no government subsidies. Approval would simply allow broadcasters to invest in the future of television to the benefit of viewers.
The next generation of broadcast television technology will deliver life-saving advanced emergency alerting, stunning pictures, immersive and customizable audio and improved reception to enhance and expand the broadcast viewing experience. Because the new technology combines the best of broadcast television and broadband, Next Gen TV allows local stations to better personalize their broadcasts with information and interactive features to give viewers the content that is most relevant to them.
Next Gen TV also supports enhanced mobile reception, so viewers can access unlimited live local and national news, the most popular sports and entertainment programs and children's shows on mobile devices over-the-air without having to rely on cellular data services. That means viewers won't run through their data cap, and there's no monthly fee - broadcast TV is free.
The only thing that stands between viewers and this new enhanced service is government action. Unlike other competitive services, local stations can only begin broadcasting in the Next Gen TV standard after FCC approval.
In 2016, the National Association of Broadcasters, Consumer Technology Association, America's Public Television Stations and the Advanced Warning and Response Network Alliance petitioned the FCC, requesting permission for stations and television receiver manufacturers to voluntarily adopt Next Gen TV.
Earlier this year, the Commission unanimously voted to initiate a rulemaking proceeding that would allow broadcasters to use the Next Gen TV standard on a voluntary basis. Chairman Ajit Pai said he hopes the FCC can issue a final authorization of the standard later this year. Moving quickly to unleash the next generation of free broadcast television service would allow stations to provide the very best experience and services to benefit broadcast viewers.