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Vermont Legislators Say Protecting Broadcast Signals is Critical

A trio of Vermont
legislators has asked the State Department to make sure the government negotiates
a new spectrum agreement with Canada
before they do any repacking in the second digital transition that would likely
result from incentive spectrum auctions.

The FCC will have to move some channels, and others will likely have to share
channels to free up contiguous blocks of spectrum for auction to wireless

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senators Patrick Leahy and
Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch said that stations there had already been
forced to cut power due to the DTV transition in 2009 and that any further
repacking could have "devastating" impact without coordination with Canada.

"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," they wrote, adding: "In addition, with the
difficult economic times we face today, access to free broadcast television is
more important than ever."

The National Association of Broadcasters has also been pushing for such
coordination with Canada
and Mexico, as
have congressional representatives of border states,
particularly Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.).