The Coalition for Free TV and Broadband and the National Translator Association are teaming up and heading to Washington to meet with members of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. Their goal: to make sure Class A TVs, LPTVs and TV translators are not lost in the spectrum auction shuffle.
Representatives of the two organizations also plan to check in with people at the FCC and at public interest groups to make their case.
Television broadcasters in general are concerned about whether spectrum auctions will be truly voluntary, whether they will be fairly compensated for any changes necessitated by channel repacking, and whether channel repacking is even possible in some markets without killing off some affected television stations.
The situation is probably more worrisome for low power licensees, who are regarded by the FCC as providers of secondary television service and generally are not afforded the same protections as their full-power colleagues.
“We are excited to be working closely with the NTA”, said Irwin Podhajser, the Chairman of The Coalition For Free TV and Broadband. He continued, “Both of our organizations realize that we are standing at a crossroads for this industry. There is a choice to be made. One choice is to continue the long tradition of free over-the-air television and to free up those stations to provide other services such as wireless broadband. The other choice is to go down the path of handing over more and more control of spectrum to a few wireless monopolies. It is simply not in the consumers’ best interest to have just a few companies controlling access to the wireless world.”
Byron St. Clair, President of the National Translator Association added, “Rebroadcast TV translators extend the service of primary TV stations to areas not directly served. TV Translators are a life-line service delivering news, entertainment and emergency information to rural areas that urban TV stations cannot reach. They are authorized on open channels between those used by the primary stations but with the loss of eighteen channels from the TV band in conjunction with the digital transition it is already difficult to find available channels and any further loss of channels will result in a significant loss of TV service to rural America.”