T-Mobile Steps Up To Help With Costs for Displaced Public LPTVs

 

LPTV stations and translators were excluded from the $1.75 billion fund set up to help recover moving costs for displaced stations who will be displaced by the repack. Fortunately, help will come from the largest purchaser of spectrum during the repack auction: T-Mobile.

According to statements from PBS and American Public TV Stations, an agreement has been reached with T-Mobile to help cover the necessary costs of relocation for displaced stations that share public television broadcasts into rural America.

“Public broadcasting has been one of America’s greatest and most enduring public-private partnerships,” said PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger. “We are thrilled that T-Mobile sees the value that public broadcasting brings to the American people and is helping to ensure that everyone—regardless of income or zip code—continues to have access to PBS, including vital emergency alerts and programs that help prepare children for success in school.”

The statement says that more than “38 million Americans” would have been affected by the relocation had T Mobile not stepped up to provide this crucial funding.

“As the post-auction repacking process moves forward, local public television stations are committed to ensuring that all Americans continue to have free over-the-air access to the local content and services on which our viewers and their communities depend,” said APTS President and CEO Patrick Butler. “America’s Public Television Stations are very pleased that this initiative with T-Mobile will help address one of the most significant repacking challenges that local public television stations face by providing needed funding to relocate translator facilities that enable us to provide essential services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the most rural and remote parts of the country.”

The partnership is a win-win for the wireless carrier as they expand their reach into rural areas across America.

“We’re proud to collaborate with broadcasters across the country as they transition to other channels, and doubly proud to support local public television’s public service mission and help ensure millions of kids in rural America continue to have access to public television’s high-quality, educational programming,” said Neville Ray, chief technology officer of T-Mobile. “Moves like this will help us expand our network into these underserved areas and give consumers a new level of wireless coverage and choice.”

The solution between the parties was praised by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai as “a creative solution to assist millions of TV viewers during the post-incentive auction transition.”

“The financial assistance provided by T-Mobile will help the many Americans who rely on public television, especially in rural areas,” Chairman Pai said. “It will also help expand wireless connectivity in rural America. Today’s announcement is precisely the kind of cross-industry cooperation we need to ensure a smooth transition for broadcasters, wireless providers, and American consumers.”

However, it’s still unclear where funding will come from for LPTV stations and translators that are not publicly funded, like many faith-based and community-based stations.

“Local, community oriented broadcasters serve their areas of license with a knowledge that comes from being in and caring about the people where they broadcast,” said Rod Payne, President of CFNT, a Class A LPTV station in Wichita Falls, Texas. “The fact that that service to so many underserved people in the U.S. was not important to the previous FCC body is appalling.  While I appreciate T-Mobile’s gesture on behalf of some of those impacted the real story here must continue to remain about the need to provide free, accessible, over-the-air broadcasting availability, and with it the new avenues for technological advancement, to the American public at large.”

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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 https://www.broadcastingalliance.org/join-us/ 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.

Respectfully,

The Board of Directors – The Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance