Tennessee Legislators: Protecting Broadcasters Is as Important as Freeing UP Wireless Spectrum

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A number of Tennessee legislators have asked the FCC to make sure that the commission "protects the ability of the public to continue to receive over-the-air television signals" from stations that remain in business after the upcoming spectrum auction.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski circulated a notice of proposed rulemaking last Friday, Sept. 7, that outlined a framework for the auctions, including the repacking of stations and replication of their coverage areas. Broadcasters are eager to see the FCC's model for optimizing those stations reach.

The FCC is under a statutory mandate to make all reasonable efforts to replicate the existing coverage areas and interference protections of broadcasters who choose to continue providing free-over-the-air service.

"While increasing the amount of spectrum allocated to wireless broadband fulfills an important national goal," the legislators wrote in a letter to the FCC dated Sept. 7, "the goal of protecting the public's ability to receive that service is equally important."

They said "all Americans" deserve to know whether the commission's plan will affect their ability to receive signals," and counseled the FCC to be transparent in its rulemaking.

Signatories to the letter include Republicans Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen.