When the FCC released its Next Gen TV Report and Order in November 2017, we wrote about how this authorized television broadcasters to use the “Next Generation” broadcast television transmission standard (also known as ATSC 3.0) on a voluntary, market-driven basis. The rules from that Order became effective on February 2, 2018, except for the rule sections 73.3801, 73.6029, and 74.782 which required approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) because they contain information collection requirements. These rules covered core issues such as coverage and simulcasting requirements, and the FCC application process. However, yesterday the FCC announced that OMB has signed off on the rules, effective as of July 17.

For broadcasters eager to jump into Next Generation TV (not the Star Trek franchise), the FCC also announced that the Media Bureau is in the process of making changes to its Licensing and Management System (LMS) to accommodate ATSC 3.0 license applications, and that completion of such changes is expected to begin in early 2019. The Bureau is not yet accepting applications for ATSC 3.0 licenses, but it will issue a public notice announcing when it will start accepting applications for such licenses. In the meantime, the Media Bureau will continue to consider applications filed using the experimental licensing rules for ATSC 3.0 market trials and product development.

If you have questions about the Next Generation TV rules, please call us at 703-812-0400.