Sinclair's ONE Media tries to sell FCC on ATSC 3.0's role in 5G

The ATSC 3.0 Next Gen Hub at NAB Show 2017 in Las Vegas. (Ben Munson/FierceVideo)

Sinclair joint venture ONE Media is pleading its case with the FCC to make sure ATSC 3.0 next-gen TV standards are considered while making plans for 5G networks.

According to an FCC filing, Mark Aitken, president of ONE Media, recently met with Commissioner Michael O’Rielly and other FCC officials to discuss ATSC 3.0’s ability to deliver data services outside of television.

“As the Commission considers implementation actions to accelerate deployment of 5G-related services, it necessarily should include the enhanced service capabilities of the original point-to-multipoint wireless distributor: broadcasting,” ONE Media wrote in its filing.

ONE Media said that ATSC 3.0 can be used as the baseline for terrestrial broadcasters to provide a new, combined broadcast and broadband, cloud-native network system architecture for television and non-television services on new device types. The company said the system would be build using the ATSC 3.0 physical layer and virtualized, shared IP core.

With that architecture in place, ONE Media said ATSC 3.0 can handle things like offloading large data files need by carriers to cache programming directly on user devices and improve distribution of data to autonomous vehicles as well as IoT devices and telemedicine activities.

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ONE Media said that broadcast towers and single frequency networks can be used to help alleviate some of the need for small cells in 5G networks, and that broadcasters deploying ATSC 3.0 will be using the same 3GPP system architecture design principles as wireless providers building 5G networks.

ATSC 3.0 has been touted for its ability to deliver improved audio and video quality, deeper indoor reception, targeted programming/advertising, mobile reception, automotive services and advanced emergency alerting.

But another big opportunity for broadcasters who deploy the new standards is freeing up broadcast spectrum that can then be used for data services. Broadcasters could combine their available spectrum in a practice called bit pooling.

Bit pooling is when a broadcaster takes their 6 megahertz of spectrum and chops it up to be digitized, which under ATSC 3.0 leaves about 25 Mbps of throughput. Then, the stations within a market combine those bits left over after the required TV service is provided, and they can lease them to anyone who wants them for applications including driverless cars, extra last-mile bandwidth or large-scale software upgrades.