NY senators push for Canada accord on TV spectrum


U.S. CongressThe two US Senators from the state of New York are pressing their former colleague and current Secretary of State John Kerry for a treaty with Canada that will make sure local broadcast television remains vibrant and strong in the wake of incentive spectrum auctions.

Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) both signed a letter to Kerry expressing their concern that a mis-handled auction could harm free local over-the-air television service directly in several New York media markets and indirectly in several others, including New York City and Albany. Markets that could be directly affected include Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Plattsburgh and Watertown.

One key to a successful auction is a treaty with Canada that will assure that the two nations are in sync when it comes to repacking television stations into a narrower band of spectrum.

They noted that time is short.

“Sound engineering, as well as good foreign policy, will require that the use of the affected bands be harmonized between our two countries, so that Canadian television broadcasts don’t interfere with wireless devices, and towers and devices on this side of the border don’t interfere with Canadian television reception,” they wrote. “As part of this harmonization process it will probably be necessary to rebalance the allotments reserved for television broadcasting in our respective countries. This is likely to be a complicated and possibly contentious coordination. It’s important to get it started quickly.”