Broadcasting Defined

In broadcasting history, many have disputed the definition of the word and/or field. For example, on Nov. 24, a letter titled “The erroneous definition of broadcasting has not been removed from the Telecommunications Bill” was sent to the Stabroek News and posted in their opinion section.

The letter outlines how the writer, Tony Vieira, had been chosen to oversee corrections that needed to be made to the Broadcast Act 17 of 2011 for the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA). Vieira explained a few points of “perversions” he found in the bill, one of which being an inconsistency in the definition of the word broadcasting.

The definition in question from the two acts defines broadcasting as “the transmission of any programme, whether or not encrypted and whether or not actually received, by wired or wireless medium or technology for reception by all or part of the general public, but does not include telecommunications.”

Vieira said the definition set the stage for “cable transmissions or wireless cable” to be considered broadcasting. He said he considers this a bad thing because:

“Prior to 2012 when the 2011 Act was activated, cable operators were required to operate in the multichannel, multipoint distribution system (MMDS) band of frequencies, ie, 2.4-2.7 Giga Hertz (GHz). This high frequency is not easy to use, and is intended by its very characteristics to restrict cable transmissions to a limited area since it is so difficult to propagate.”

Read the full letter here.

In response, Leonard Craig sent a letter called “Definitions of broadcasting in legislation across the globe are generally consistent with the one crafted for Guyana” detailing how the aforementioned definition was and still is accepted as the tried and true definition of broadcasting.

Craig said that the Broadcasting Acts of Trinidad and Tobago (2001) define a “broadcasting service” as the offering of the transmission of programs whether or not encrypted, by any means of telecommunication, for reception by the general public. This includes sound, radio, television and other types of transmissions, such as those on a point to multipoint basis. He also said telecommunications includes the transmission, emission or reception of signals, writing, pulses, images, sounds or other intelligence of any kind by wire, radio, terrestrial or submarine cables, optical or electromagnetic spectrum or by way of any other technology.

Craig stated that the definitions of broadcasting in cases like South Africa (1999), the United Kingdom (1996), and Australia (1992), agreed with and were “generally consistent” with the Guyana definition.

Craig brought up the 1949 case on whether or not the FCC had the right to regulate Community Antenna Television (CATV).  In the end, the case went to the US Supreme Court and the FCC’s authority to regulate CATV systems was upheld.

“Mr Vieira is asking the nation to zip back to the 1950s and resurrect a case that was fought and settled and accepted across the globe,” Craig said.

Read the full letter here.

The definition is internationally disputed, and it may be disputed for a very long time, perhaps until broadcasting splinters into more specialized fields. What are your opinions on the definition of broadcasting?

Comments are closed.


Dear Fellow LPTV Broadcaster and Industry Leaders,

The auction has ended and most of us are still here.  While it was not only our hope but the hope of many others that the auction would not take place . . . it did, but it did not have the devastating effect that it might have had. 

The world after the auction looks different and amazingly so has a very bright future!

What does that future look like?  Not only the amazing possibilities of ATSC 3.0 but the landscape of a nation of people who are increasingly cutting their cable cords and looking for free, over the air, broadcasting content.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that you join the Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance.  Our board of directors have a combined 500+ years of experience which beginning with your membership we are going to start making more available to our members on an increasing basis.

Soon as an ATBA member, you will be eligible to start tapping into not only this brain trust through unique services available only to our members but regular news updates regarding our collective broadcast future.  We are exploring new ways to tap into information from Washington as well as important updates that will benefit you right there where you live.

The need for the ATBA has increased with the new opportunities that are becoming available for those of us who still know that the future of LPTV, Class A and Translators is bright!  Are you selling your station to local sponsors?  Are you maximizing your spectrum to the advantage that you truly can?  Are you struggling with FCC rules and regulations that you either don’t understand or can’t get explained?

The ATBA is developing a database of information to help you find the answers you need! 

In addition we are still working with the true decision makers in Washington.  Your ATBA has earned the respect and the ear of the true movers and shakers that continue to shape our collective broadcasting future.

So what can you do to get involved and begin to take advantage of these, and many other, benefits?  Join the ATBA today!  Your membership benefits will include:

  1. Members only access to hundreds of years of LPTV experience through our new “Brain Trust”
  2. Early entry to our annual NAB LPTV evening event with access to our special event guest(s)
  3. Exclusive digital content regarding real world information you need to know
  4. Eligibility for recognition for your hard work through our ATBA LPTV Awards
  5. Access to equipment manufacturers with discounts available especially for ATBA members!

To be honest you can’t afford not to be a member of the ATBA! 

We’re making it affordable because it’s a win – win!  When you join, you’re going to receive more than just the benefits listed above but also you’ll be aligning with hundreds of others who, like yourself, have a vested interest in the continued forward movement of free, over-the-air broadcasting.  It’s a win for your ATBA because we will increase our strength through numbers as we grow together.

So what’s the next step?  If you’re ready follow this link to sign up.  If you have more questions please don’t hesitate to call a member of the ATBA board of directors by calling this number (877) 214-4277.   You’ll get a rapid response!

Thanks for taking the time to read this note and for your ongoing passion for the future of communication in this great country.


The Board of Directors – The Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance