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The Upgrade to Bring Long-Awaited Connectivity to Rural Communities in the Region

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, 6/29/2021 — In its continued effort to bring digital and educational equity to North Carolinians at large, PBS North Carolina announces the next phase of its NextGen TV rollout, which will bring this broadcast technology to the communities in and around Greenville, NC at its WUNK-TV facility. This announcement marks the second area of the state to receive NextGen TV broadcasting from PBS North Carolina; last March, the network first launched NextGen TV in the Raleigh-Durham region in a collaborative effort with Capitol Broadcasting Company (CBC). 

NextGen TV is an Internet-protocol-based broadcast standard, allowing geographically specific information to be layered into a TV broadcast signal.  It has the potential to reduce the digital divide by allowing internet-disconnected households to receive school provided educational resources that they would typically not get via a TV antenna. 

The choice to bring NextGen TV to Greenville was motivated by the digital divide resulting from limited-to-no broadband access in areas of the region. Greenville’s topography and existing broadcast infrastructure make it an ideal place for a pilot project in that the WUNK tower signal can be upgraded without any service interruptions. The program aims to bring the educational benefits of NextGen TV to many families in the WUNK/Greenville viewing area, giving them access to the educational and informational benefits of the internet.

Bridging the digital divide by powering public broadcasting with NextGen TV brings a multitude of potential benefits to communities including the following enhancements:

  • Reduction in the amount of time it takes to get 911 dispatch information to firefighters and EMS teams over a wider area.
  • Connecting students to remote learning resources and connecting teachers to their students in rural areas.
  • Future telehealth capabilities that will provide data delivery to medical facilities and patients with minimal broadband connectivity.

“The core of public media is that every citizen deserves access to quality information,” says Fred Engel, Chief Technology Officer of PBS North Carolina. “We believe that this revolution will create significant new opportunities to engage North Carolinians at home, and with information relevant to their safety, education and health.”

The forthcoming NextGen TV pilot program in Greenville will serve as a proof of concept for NextGen TV’s ability to bridge the digital divide. With positive results in Greenville, PBS North Carolina is prepared to engage public and private partners to provide NextGen TV services to all 100 of North Carolina’s counties with agile public safety and educational programming.

About PBS North Carolina 

As North Carolina’s statewide PBS network serving the country’s third-largest public media market, PBS NC educates, informs, entertains and inspires its statewide audience on-air, online and in-person. Through its unique partnership of public investment and private support, the statewide network includes in-person engagement, digital-first social and online content delivery, and four over-the-air channels—PBS NC, the North Carolina Channel, Rootle 24/7 PBS Kids and the Explorer Channel. Its transformational events and content spark curiosity and wonder for all North Carolinians. Additionally, PBS NC serves as the backbone for North Carolina’s state’s emergency services. Visit and join the conversation at, and @MyPBSNC on Twitter.


Media Contact:

Kathleen Kramer, PBS North Carolina Marketing & Communications