N.M. Delegation Asks FCC to Protect Rural Broadcasting

The New Mexico congressional delegation (two senators and three House members) are the latest to contact the FCC about protecting rural communications, particularly broadcast translators, in the incentive auctions meant to encourage broadcasters to give up their spectrum for auction to wireless.

Translators help carry over-the-air TV station signals to hard-to-reach geographic areas.

In the letter, dated April 26, the legislators said the FCC needs to protect over-the-air signals after the incentive auctions, whether that is a full-power broadcaster or a translator. 

They point out that some of their constituents can't afford cable or satellite and others don't have access to high-speed broadband. For them, they say, broadcast TV is "all the more" useful for emergency communications.

"Thus, we do not underestimate the enduring value of free broadcast television, one of our first 'wireless' technologies, even as new mobile broadband services become more and more essential."

The National Association of Broadcasters points out that similar letters have been sent by Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.