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Nation’s first 5G broadcast test a success

"This is a big thing."

Earlier this year we reported that WWOO-LD out of Westmoreland, New Hampshire, had received an experimental special temporary authority from the FCC to test 5G television broadcasting. The test was a success, with the station successfully completing a proof-of-concept broadcast on September 13. The broadcast, which the organizers described as “the first 5G broadcasts from a U.S. station to a smartphone,” was a 1080p stream of content from France 24, as well as tests of emergency alert services.

The successful test has stirred excitement in industry professionals, with founder of Low Power TV Broadcasters Association (LPTVBA) and XGen Network saying, “This is a big thing. It’s 5G Broadcasting right to a cell phone. What does that mean? You can watch your shows on the phone, sure. But what it really means is what it means for first responders.”

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After the test, FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington spoke on the continuing shift of the media landscape, as new technologies are introduced while obsolete platforms are phased out. “Broadcasters are now neither the primary creators nor the primary distributors in the media [landscape] and yet, broadcasters are made entrusted with public airwaves and consequently must discharge their vital public interest obligations [with an] ever narrowing slice of media revenue. And so as broadcasters…[adapt to this], the Commission must help in clearing a regulatory path [that is] no longer solely grounded in primary video distribution….That’s why…I was very pleased to hear that my colleagues in the Media Bureau acted quickly to grant temporary authority to engage in 5G broadcast testing. And I’m pleased to hear the interest already expressed by those in the vendor ecosystem and the public safety community in partnering to deliver new and innovative services across broadcast spectrum….5G Broadcasting represents an exciting possible evolutionary path and broadcast future.”



The following was originally published July 25, 2023: 

Milachi Media, a licensee of television station WWOO-LD out of Westmoreland, New Hampshire, has received an experimental special temporary authority (STA) from the FCC to test 5G broadcasting.

Milachi will be partnering with Xgen Networks LLC and Qualcomm, in addition to others, to test broadcasting both traditional television programming as well as emergency alerts over 5G. The FCC has stated that the testing, which involves broadcasting signals to any 5G-ready device, is issued on a non-interference basis, meaning that any interference caused by the testing to another licensed user could be cause for the testing to be terminated.

See also: NYPD tests drones for emergency public announcements

“Upon review of the application, we conclude that the request complies with the Commission’s requirements for an experimental authorization and the public interest would be served by grant of Milachi’s request,” said the FCC in a statement.

“We find that Milachi has proposed a definite program of research and experimentation; stands ready to proceed with such research; is not expected to cause any objectional interference; and the experiment is likely to provide valuable information to allow broadcasters to better understand how 5G Broadcast can be used not only for traditional television services, but also new and innovative video and data services”.

If 5G broadcasting is a success, experts hope it could mean less wireless network congestion during live events.

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