Early January 2018 Industry News
The Pearl TV Consortium of eight major TV stations is off to a very nice start in 2018 with Sony to develop a new on-screen television program guide to respond to viewer voice commands. This capability will be part of their Phoenix ATSC 3.0 Model Market project. A great step in the right direction for ATSC 3.0 in 2018. Well done, Pearl TV.
Microsoft Back In The news – Pushing for TV White Spaces
Microsoft has joined with ACT: The App Association and various rural and education groups to form the Connect Americans Now (CAN) coalition. Adopting a “CAN” do attitude, computer companies, edge providers and others have united to push Washington to let them use the TV White Spaces to close the rural digital divide.
There is plenty of competing interest in low-band spectrum. Full power broadcasters are looking for more spectrum to simulcast new ATSC 3.0 signals displaced in the post incentive auction repack.
See our earlier blog post from August 22, 2017. “Is Microsoft Hustling us with White Spaces?” The answer is still the same: Yes!
A Senate Repeal of Net Neutrality?
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has cobbled together enough votes necessary to force a vote on the FCC’s decision to repeal Net Neutrality. With his 30 sponsors, Markey can make the Senate vote on whether to consider overturning the rules, which would lead to a debate and final vote.
Democrats are framing this issue and Senate vote as a key one for voters in the mid-term elections in 2018: “A vote to save the internet or rubber stamp its death warrant.”
A successful Senate vote to Repeal the FCC rules on Net Neutrality is not a high probability. We’ll see about implications for the mid-term elections later this year.
AT&T Plans to Sell 600 MHz Spectrum to LB License Co
Fierce Wireless had an interesting article on AT&T's plans to sell some 600 MHz spectrum to LB License Co. One hypothesis is that the sale may be related to AT&T's winning of the FirstNet contract for the First Responders emergency network, which gave them 20 MHz of 700 MHz band spectrum that could also be used for commercial purposes. This spectrum enables AT&T to now sell the 600 MHz holdings it won at the FCC auction less than a year ago.
The sales price per MHz/pop for this deal is an important data point. And what will the spectrum be used for? See the following link to Fierce Wireless for the full article. We will maintain focus on this transaction in 2018.