Congress passed legislation in 2009 to push the National Broadband Plan with the FCC in charge of making it possible. The plan is to provide high speed internet access to nearly every household in the United States. The easiest way to accomplish that is over the cellular towers using 4G and the next generation wireless broadband. The problem with wireless broadband is currently coverage. Cell towers are located in densely populated areas and along interstate highways. Few towers serve rural areas with high speed internet and in fact, there’s a lot of areas where no cellphone service is available.
The FCC decided to pack all the TV channels closer together and sell the remaining TV channels to the highest bidding companies in an auction. That auction was completed in March and the next phase was re-assigning TV stations to new frequencies to make way for the broadband services. Stations were given the option to sell their channel and either share with another station, or go off the air, or move to the VHF band. All others would be assigned to a new channel.
In our local market, every station will be moved to a new channel in about 2-4 years from now to clear the upper channels for the new owners that won in the auction. Once those channels are cleared, the broadband companies can begin building the towers to cover rural areas that have no internet access now, and create the newest 5G wireless internet system.
For the antenna users, all that will be required is to re-scan the channels once the stations move. A few viewers may have to buy a new VHF / UHF antenna, but most will be fine with what you already have. Nationwide, almost 1,000 TV stations will have to move to a new channel in stages.
Here in the Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville market, the new channels will be:
|14||28||WRDC||DURHAM, NC||My Network|
|20||25||WUNC-TV||CHAPEL HILL, NC||PBS|
|27||36||WUNP-TV||ROANOKE RAPIDS, NC||PBS|
|30||31||WHIG-CD||ROCKY MOUNT, NC||Independent|
|32||15||WRPX-TV||ROCKY MOUNT, NC||Ion Media Networks|
|0||36||WFPX-TV||FAYETTEVILLE, NC||Off Air|
|0||44||WZGS-CD||RALEIGH, NC||Off Air|
|0||42||WRAY-TV||WILSON, NC||Off Air|