CTIA The Wireless Association
and Los Angeles television stations KLCS and KJLA announced today a channel-sharing pilot project that responds to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) recent request to "demonstrate the technical and legal arrangements necessary to implement a successful channel-sharing operation." The goal of the pilot program is to show that channel sharing would allow over-the-air broadcasters to continue providing content without impacting their viewers -- while reducing infrastructure costs.
Channel sharing entails two television stations "sharing" a single over-the-air broadcast television channel, with their primary and multicast content combined on a single, digital stream capable of carrying multiple high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) video services.
Once the two parties receive FCC approval, the testing process will occur through the first quarter of 2014. Under the channel-sharing agreement, KLCS and KJLA will conduct a series of tests that will culminate in KLCS "hosting" KJLA's content and transmitting a shared stream that will combine the two stations' primary and multicast content. KLCS and KJLA will also attempt a variety of HD and SD video feeds to confirm the feasibility and technical limits of channel sharing between two unaffiliated broadcast stations. The channels claim that there will be no impact to viewers during this test.
The spectrum relinquished by potential channel sharing broadcasters would be auctioned
, with some of the proceeds going to those participating broadcasters to reinvest in services. In turn, mobile providers will likely acquire the remaining spectrum in an auction so they may continue to expand wireless broadband service coverage.