CPB, PBS to Build Next Generation Interconnection System

Posted by PBS Publicity on

Public investment in new technology will create state-of-the-art programming distribution "backbone" that will cut costs and improve efficiency


Washington, D.C. - August 9, 2005 - Continuing the organizations' long history of cooperation and partnership, today Patricia Harrison, President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Pat Mitchell, President and CEO of PBS, signed an agreement that formally determines the design, implementation and management of the Next Generation Interconnection System (NGIS). This major technology project will replace and significantly upgrade the current infrastructure that enables PBS, regional distributors and other entities to distribute programming for broadcast by public television stations.

Replacing the current satellite-based backbone of public television, which depends upon satellite leases due to expire in October 2006, the NGIS uses a hybrid satellite/fiber architecture designed by PBS Technology and Operations that takes advantage of advanced file transfer technologies, permitting stations to automate the content they receive from PBS, allowing greater programming flexibility and freeing scarce local resources to be redirected towards enhanced local services. These technologies and techniques will also generate efficiencies at PBS that will reduce operating costs over time. The NGIS will be fully operational by the end of 2016.

"I am delighted that CPB and PBS have reached this agreement," Ms. Harrison said. "Owing to the foresight and strong support of the CPB board of directors, it represents the next chapter in our 25-year history of working together to ensure that public television stations and viewers can count on a high-quality, reliable distribution system. With the possibilities created by new technology, this is a very exciting step forward for public broadcasting."

"The collaborative work of the PBS and CPB Technology and Operations staff has resulted in an innovative, forward-focused interconnection system that secures the unique benefits of public television's national/local structure of services," said Ms. Mitchell. "This new agreement provides improved efficiency, lower costs, and greater functionality. We are grateful to CPB for partnering with us and together, we look forward to continuing to serve this country's public broadcasting stations in ways that strengthen their local services."

Under the Public Broadcasting Act, CPB provides funding the interconnection systems required by public television and public radio. Historically, Congress has provided special appropriations to defray those costs. To date, Congress has provided $50 million of the anticipated $120 million cost of NGIS, and the Senate appropriations committee has recommended making an additional $40 million available in FY2006.

"We greatly appreciate the support that Congress has provided for NGIS to date, and we will continue to work with them for full funding of this vital system," Harrison said.

CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1000 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related on-line services.

PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 348 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet, averaging more than 30 million unique visits and 380 million page views per month in 2004. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.




Eben Peck
Corporate and Public Affairs

Jan McNamara
Corporate Communications

January Ruck
Media Relations