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DigiCAP Enables New Mexico KNME-TV Innovations at the First Public TV Station to Deliver ATSC 3.0 At-Home Learning

New Mexico, March 30 , 2022—As the first public TV station to deploy an ATSC 3.0 At-Home family learning program for K to 12 students underserved by broadband, KNME-TV saw a greenfield opportunity to serve their community. To make the plan work required serious listening that led to a series of innovations. According to Franz Joachim, General Manager & CEO of New Mexico PBS, “Looking back at where we started it’s amazing how quickly we were able to modify our system and respond to the unique needs of our communities. When New Mexico PBS and the New Mexico Public Education Department formed an outreach team to meet with students we discovered challenges that were hard to predict.” Our team was offering students free access to the SpectraRep EduCast™ system with a free DigiCAP ATSC 3.O receiver box, yet there were fewer takers than we would have liked. When students grow up in homes and communities with no Internet access there is no assurance that they have familiarity with basic online tools. The outreach team found some students and parents were not familiar with how a web browser or mouse worked.

After dealing with basic technical training the next step was to realize that many teachers and families who experienced frustrations with distance learning during the pandemic needed reassurance for them to welcome datacasting into their homes. In New Mexico multi-lingual communities that are underserved by broadband, adults are often working several jobs. Said Joachim, “We soon realized that to support our students we had to ask who in the household was helping the kids with schoolwork. In many cases it was grandparents.” According to Ferdi Serim, Owner of CLARO Consulting, hired to help implement the technical side of the program, “To help grandparents and other family members understand datacasting as a family learning system we needed to make modifications. Through rapid changes to SpectraRep’s EduCast™ system and DigiCAP’s ATSC 3.0 gateway we were able to make and integrate the changes quickly.”
Said Serim, “Once we found volunteers willing to help, we needed to engage and train them to move receivers into family households. They became ambassadors to their own communities, evangelizing the value of these digital learning tools.”

Once again, DigiCAP, New Mexico PBS, and SpectraRep were able to quickly provide the adjustments needed to make these innovation work. Said Joachim,” This was a win-win for everyone. Since the start of the pandemic, some senior citizens have not been able to make in person contributions to their community, but still had enough knowledge and willingness to help a young person’s education.”
Another innovation came when Joachim’s team realized that students at home often needed access to additional information to help with their studies, as would family members and volunteers helping them. Again, working with the flexibility of the DigiCAP ATSC 3.0 platform, SpectraRep was able to modify the system to provide in-home access to digitized library materials available statewide from New Mexico PBS’s network.

Said, Serim “Once again we turned to DigiCAP, SpectraRep, and New Mexico PBS with our new needs, and together they quickly adapted and met those needs. By this time, we realized we were not operating in a traditional broadcast/supplier relationship where platforms are updated every six months or so, we were able to put our operational innovations into effect in days.” Said Joachim, “We are also grateful to APTS (American Public Television Stations) who laid the groundwork for us to build on. APTS has been working with public TV organizations and SpectraRep for 20 years and has successfully launched eleven statewide programs using ATSC 1.0 systems that can seamlessly support ATSC 3.0 in the future.”

Concluded Joachim. “This string of innovations all started when we looked closely at the needs of our students in the context of the family they live with. We are also excited to continue innovating using the flexible, all IP based, ATSC 3.0 platform. Every time we had an idea to make our program more inclusive, with other family members, grandparents, senior citizen volunteers, or with library access, we were able to quickly make those modifications in collaboration with our technology partners. Joachim added, when using ATSC 3.0 it helps to have an ATSC 3.0 gateway supplier like DigiCAP who can extend a “Silicon Valley” style relationship and work ethic that enables experimentation and fast response to tactical needs on the ground.”

About New Mexico PBS
New Mexico PBS’ Mission is to inform, engage, educate and connect New Mexico’s diverse communities, reflecting their interests and needs through quality programming, services, and online content that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. More info
About DigiCAP Co., Ltd
For the past 20 years, DigiCAP has has used advanced software development to make television and telecom systems easier to use, less costly, and more profitable. DigiCAP’s ATSC 3.0 air chain, DigiCaster, has now been deployed in over half of the ATSC 3.0 market deployments in the US. DigiCAP also works privately with major telecom providers, broadcasters, and government agencies on software development projects. More info
About SpectraRep
SpectraRep is a pioneer datacasting solutions provider. Working with public television nationwide for more than two decades, SpectraRep’s technology improves remote learning for students that do not have broadband at home and enables resilient responder applications that have no dependencies on other networks. More info
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