PBS announced that T-Mobile is paying the bill for the public broadcasting corporation to transition to new radio frequencies so the network can stay on the air in rural areas. Earlier this year, the FCC’s broadcasting auction to free up airwaves finished with TV broadcasters selling their low-band spectrum so telecoms could bolster their wireless services. T-Mobile bid US$8 billion, which netted the company 45% of the low-band spectrum.
Television channels that were operating on the low-band spectrum—which included PBS—had to either share space with other channels or shut down, and the FCC wasn’t willing to help channels get funding for the move. PBS couldn’t afford the changes, and was in danger of being shut down. This move would have affected 38 million Americans, mostly in rural areas, that access the free station.
But T-Mobile stepped in and agreed to foot the bill, which included equipment, engineering, installation, and legal fees. This lets millions of Americans in rural areas continue to enjoy free kids shows, educational programs and important emergency alerts. PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger made a statement:
We are thrilled that T-Mobile sees the value that public broadcasting brings to the American people and is helping to ensure that everyone—regardless of income or zip code—continues to have access to PBS, including vital emergency alerts and programs that help prepare children for success in school.
Basically it looks like not only does T-Mobile want your iPhone business, they want you to be smart, too.
[Updated to clarify T-Mobile’s assistance is primarily for rural areas]