By: Kim Savage.
We recently had the distinct honor of welcoming Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to our Lewiston, Maine facility, where he received VIP treatment and a guided tour of our new repack antenna production plant.
“Since this was Chairman Pai’s first visit, we highlighted how Dielectric has been designing, building, and shipping a record number of repack antenna systems,” said VP/GM Keith Pelletier. We recently booked our 500th repack antenna order, having already shipped over 200 repack antennas and systems nationwide.
During the tour, Chairman Pai learned about the leadership role we played during the historic U.S. DTV transition, our contribution to the current spectrum repack, and our commitment to the next-gen ATSC 3.0 DTV transition. He also saw roughly 25 high-power repack antennas in various stages of assembly and testing, including the TFU-WB—a cost-efficient, multi-channel, broadband UHF antenna that offers broadcasters a seamless transition to new channel assignments—as well as a 25,000-pound TV antenna awaiting shipment to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico.
Noting that Dielectric is in a unique position to gather information from on-going site installations, “We also expressed concern that a significant number of installations have already been delayed as broadcasters and rigging crews begin to encounter technical, structural, logistical, and weather problems that are slowing their progress,” said Dielectric President Andy Whiteside.
“Chairman Pai was clearly intrigued with the complex and unique nature of each antenna system we make, and the lengths we go to make sure our antennas and brand meet broadcaster expectations,” said Pelletier. “We detailed the work we’ve been doing to help broadcasters meet their challenging spectrum repack commitments, including those with T-Mobile agreements that require them to vacate their current channels ahead of the FCC repack schedule.”
“Chairman Pai also seemed especially interested in the technology we’ve developed to enable ATSC 3.0 next-generation television, which is a particularly hot topic right now,” Pelletier added. “We were extremely proud to welcome FCC Chairman Pai, and our doors are always open to him, the Commissioners and their staff.”