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

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.