Thursday, April 26, 2012

FCC Adopts TV Channel Sharing Rules

The FCC adopted new rules that allow multiple broadcast stations to elect to stream individual programming while sharing a single channel. The order is seen as a first step toward making a significant portion of spectrum currently used by the broadcast television service available for new uses. The FCC is also planning a future incentive auction to address the nation's growing demand for wireless broadband.

Specifically, the Report and Order establishes a framework for how two or more television licensees may voluntarily share a single six MHz channel in conjunction with the auction process:

While stations will need to retain at least one standard definition programming stream to meet the FCC’s requirement of providing an over-the-air video broadcast at no direct charge to viewers, they will have the flexibility of tailoring their channel sharing agreements to meet their individual programming and economic needs.

Stations sharing together will employ a single channel and transmission facility but will each continue to be licensed separately, retain its original call sign, retain all the rights pertaining to an FCC license, and remain subject to all of the FCC’s rules, policies, and obligations.

The new rules apply to full power and Class A television stations, including both commercial and non-commercial educational television stations. The rules neither increase nor decrease the cable and satellite carriage rights currently afforded broadcast licensees.


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