Will free over-the-air broadcast television in the United States soon become a thing of the past? That prospect would have seemed impossible to me not too long ago, but I wonder if it is what the future holds.
Back when there was debate about the Sirius and XM satellite radio merger, various groups suggested potential conditions that might be made part of the deal. Some were discarded but others were agreed upon. For example, both companies made an open device pledge that will allow manufacturers to add features to their receivers.
One frequently suggested condition was a requirement that all new satellite radios be capable of receiving terrestrial HD Radio stations. The FCC didn’t make that part of the deal, although they are still requesting public comments on the idea. Now Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) has introduced the “Radio All Digital Channel Receiver Act”, which would make the FCC implement that HD Radio requirement.
A group known as the Broadcast Maximization Committee, or BMC, made an interesting proposal to the FCC last month. They want to expand the FM radio band to encompass television channels 5 and 6 (the ordinary FM band is positioned between television channels 6 and 7). The goal for this would be to reduce interference. You can read their complete proposal here: TV Channel 5-6 Radio Proposal.