By Jared Newman
April 20, 2017
Big changes are coming to local broadcast TV stations. Here’s how they’ll affect cord cutters.
If you depend on free over-the-air broadcasts from a TV antenna, you might have heard rumblings about a spectrum auction by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that will bring big changes to your local broadcast TV stations.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell from the media coverage what the auction actually means for antenna users. To figure it all out, I’ve done some research and spoken with the National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB) executive vice president of communications Dennis Wharton.
Here’s what cord cutters need to know about all the upcoming changes:
In a nutshell, what’s happening?
Over the last year, the FCC has been looking to repurpose a portion of the public airwaves used by television broadcasters. By clearing these airwaves, the FCC can make way for new and improved wireless data networks.
To that end, the FCC has held a reverse auction, through which many broadcasters agreed to vacate their airwaves in exchange for large sums of money. The FCC, in turn, auctioned off the resulting wireless spectrum to internet and telecommunications providers such as T-Mobile and Comcast. They’ll use those airwaves to make wireless networks more reliable, launch new services, and lay the groundwork for 5G wireless.
How many channels are affected by this?