Policy

Ohio Reps Ask FCC to Protect Their TV Stations

Express Concerns about Coordination with Canada in Run-up to Incentive Auctions 3/01/2013 10:24 AM Eastern

The FCC continues to hear from legislators concerned about frequency coordination negotiations with Canada and Mexico related to the FCC's spectrum incentive auctions.

The latest comes in a letter Thursday from Ohio House members.

"As you implement the incentive auction, [which was mandated by Congress], we ask that you pay close attention to our Ohio constituents and their access local broadcast television services." They point out there are over a million over-the-air only homes in Ohio alone. They are particularly concerned with potential loss of service in Cleveland, Akron, Toledo and Youngstown from frequency coordination with Canadian broadcasters.

The legislators point out that stations in those Ohio markets already have coordination challenges with U.S. markets like Detroit and Erie.

They said that while the U.S. should have fast broadband, it also needs innovative broadcasters. They acknowledge a spectrum crunch, but also say it is of the "utmost" importance that free local TV stations remain on the air after the auction.

To check out all their concerns, click here.

Last month, a trio of Washington State Democrats also warned about Canadian border issues, while some Massachusetts congressfolk expressed their border concerns last fall.

In an interview with B&C/Multichannel News in December, Gary Epstein, senior adviser and co-lead on the FCC's Incentive Auction Task Force, said the FCC would address the border issues before it votes on a final auction framework, though he pointed out the statute does not require that. He also said the plan was flexible enough to "accommodate differences in spectrum along the border if we actually need it."