WASHINGTON – August 8, 2018 – America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow Educational Broadband Service (EBS) licenses to expand the reach of their services and apply for additional open EBS spectrum.
In a statement accompanying the filing submitted by APTS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), APTS president and CEO Patrick Butler said the current licensing scheme has enabled public television stations to provide distance learning services to millions of Americans, including those in remote areas of the country.
“America’s Public Television Stations urged the FCC today to recognize and preserve the enduring success of the EBS service, which enables public television stations holding EBS licenses to provide essential educational services to their local communities,” Butler said.
“Since the 1970s, public television stations have has been using these EBS licenses to fulfill their commitment to lifelong learning for the American people.
“South Carolina Educational Television pioneered the use of EBS stations to augment its state public television network by providing locally selected and Statewide instructional television programming into virtually every classroom in the State.
“Detroit Public Television has for many years transmitted multiple educational television programs 24 hours per day to local schools, and its Homework Channel was carried into more than 450,000 homes.
“Vegas PBS has used its EBS channels for decades to deliver instructional television programs selected by school curriculum advisors over six digital channels to schools with 320,000 students and 18,000 teachers.
“Public television continues to make innovative technological advances in pursuing its educational mission, and the EBS license holders have been particularly innovative.
“Most public television stations with EBS licenses have partnered with wireless operators, most notably Sprint, to utilize capacity of their spectrum to offer wireless services to local schools and build new business models in support of public television’s educational services.
“With such advances, South Carolina Educational Television now uses Sprint wireless devices to provide wireless broadband access and filtered, kid-friendly, student-centric educational content to hundreds of pre-K program locations, such as South Carolina Head Start, First Steps and Afternoon School Alliance, to power laptops, tablets and smart phones.
“And Detroit Public Television has partnered with Detroit Public Schools, Wayne State University, intermediate school districts and Sprint to provide educational programs and internet devices to support community endeavors, including training and computers for more than 6,000 low-income households.
“In addition, the extraordinary advances of digital television technology have enabled the deployment of EBS assets for wireless broadband systems. WMNU, the public television station licensed to Northern Michigan University, has developed its own EBS-based wireless LTE system covering Michigan’s rural Upper Peninsula, including areas otherwise unserved or underserved by broadband providers.
“The extraordinary technological achievement of the new ATSC 3 broadcast standard will allow public television stations with EBS licenses to offer extraordinary new educational possibilities. As manufacturers begin to offer mobile and fixed receivers capable of LTE and ATSC 3 reception, the resulting efficiencies could help restrain the rising cost of instructional courses.
“America’s Public Television Stations are proud of the service these EBS licenses have enabled us to perform for the American people, and we urge the FCC to recognize that valuable service, move forward with its plan to rationalize the service areas of existing licenses, and issue new EBS licenses to qualified educational entities, most assuredly including local public television stations.”
America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization ensuring a strong and financially sound public television system and helping member stations provide essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the American people. For more information, visit www.apts.org.