Legislators have been reminding FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski of the importance of free over-the-air television in advance of voluntary spectrum auctions in the television space. Two senators and five reps from Connecticut are the latest to send the Chairman a letter.
The memory of the impact on the state by the remnants of Hurricane Irene was fresh in the legislators’ memory – the started right off extolling the critical role local broadcasters played while the state was dealing with over a week of power outages, lasting 12 days in some places.
They indicated their support for repurposing spectrum for wireless broadband, but added, “However, in doing so, we urge the Commission to protect the ability of the public to continue to receive free over-the-air television signals from those stations that will continue to provide service to our constituents after the auction is over. As you move forward, we believe that any plan that the Commission adopts should not negatively impact the ability of our constituents to receive free over the air service. Given the large number of individuals, households and markets potentially affected by the Commission’s proposal, we also urge that this process be kept transparent through robust disclosure of the plan at the earliest possible opportunity so anyone affected can have ample time to evaluate the plan.
All seven members of the state’s Washington delegation participated in the letter-writing project. Senators Joseph I. Lieberman (I-CT) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) were joined by Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT), John Larson (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jim Himes (D-CT) and Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT) as signatories.