Public Television Stations Applaud FCC Broadcast Internet Order

WASHINGTON – December 10, 2020 – America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) president and CEO Patrick Butler issued the following statement on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) adoption today of the order Promoting Broadcast Internet Innovation through ATSC 3.0.

“America’s Public Television Stations commend the Commission for its unanimous adoption of the Broadcast Internet order to promote innovation, experimentation, and more creative use of broadcast television spectrum to serve our stations’ public service missions.

“The substantially enhanced spectrum efficiency of the NextGen ATSC 3 broadcast standard will enable public television stations to extend their Broadcast Internet capabilities, including datacasting, beyond traditional applications of distance learning and emergency communications to such new missions as telehealth, Smart Cities connections and precision agriculture.

“With Broadcast Internet, all of these services can be enhanced and enlarged while our stations continue to provide the exceptional public television programming services the American people trust and rely on.

“The value of Broadcast Internet services has never been clearer than during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for those Americans who are unserved or underserved by broadband services.

“Datacasting, the process of delivering internet protocol (IP) data over a traditional broadcast television signal, has the potential to change the remote learning landscape for children and educators in rural, low-income and internet desert communities because of its ability to deliver digital instructional content and educational resources that would normally require an internet connection.

“This datacasting service can be provided at a minimal cost to consumers with Wi-Fi datacasting receivers that are ATSC 3 compatible. Several public television stations are already working to provide educational datacasting services under the current broadcast standard, and these capabilities would be significantly improved with the Broadcast Internet potential of ATSC 3.

“We are extraordinarily grateful to Chairman Pai for championing Broadcast Internet, and for his recognition of public television datacasting as a versatile solution to remote learning, public safety communications, telehealth, and other essential services that America’s public television stations are prepared to provide.

“And the unanimous support of other Commission members bodes well for a consistent policy of encouragement for this technology in the critical months and years just ahead.” 


About APTS
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

Stacey Karp