The proposed auction of television spectrum in the effort to make more room on America’s airwaves for wireless broadband is of particular concern to states near the borders with Canada and Mexico. The entire congressional delegation from the state of Vermont has fired off a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requesting ample protection for the state’s broadcast television stations.
The letter was signed by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (pictured) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and the state’s loan member of the House, Rep. Peter Welch (D).
The trio noted that the channel repacking that would be a necessary feature of any incentive auction plan would be an international incident as far as Vermont is concerned, and noted that negotiations with Canada will be a requirement.
Discussing difficulties encountered executing the transition to digital, they wrote, “This recent experience shows the difficulties that stations located near the border in Vermont and elsewhere encounter when they are required to move to new channels. Further repacking could have devastating impacts on these broadcast stations in the absence of a new agreement with Canada.”
The underscored the importance of keeping broadcast television in good health.
“Ensuring access to free, over-the-air broadcast signals is critical in rural states like Vermont, which lack the same access to alternative services found in urban areas. Broadcast stations provide news, weather, and emergency information that is specifically tailored to the regions they serve. Severe weather is a way of life in Vermont and the alerts that come from broadcast stations are crucial in giving citizens and towns advance notice. In addition, with the difficult economic times we face today, access to free broadcast television is more important than ever.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Let’s shine the spotlight on this (we didn’t write it, the legislators did!): “Broadcast stations provide news, weather, and emergency information that is specifically tailored to the regions they serve. Severe weather is a way of life in Vermont and the alerts that come from broadcast stations are crucial in giving citizens and towns advance notice.” Broadcast. Not cable, not internet, not cellphone. Broadcast. Take heed, FCC.