The upcoming incentive auctions threaten to disrupt local broadcast television, and it might profoundly disrupt stations near one of America’s international borders. Members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation urge care in dealing with its broadcast constituents within regulatory reach of the Canadian border.
In a letter to Chairman Julius Genachowski, copied to the other four commissioners as well, they noted the importance of finding spectrum for wireless broadband and noted that this does not diminish the ongoing importance of broadcast incumbents.
They also noted problems associated with their state’s proximity to Canada.
Discussing channel repacking, they wrote, “The issue is particularly important in states such as Massachusetts where the options available to local TV stations, including those concentrated in markets such as Boston, are constrained due to international spectrum agreements with Canada.”
They noted the particular importance of local broadcast television to niche, low-income and elderly viewers, not to mention the growing number of cord cutters.
The called for a transparent and open process with ample opportunity for stakeholders to weigh in.
All ten members of the Massachusetts House delegation, all Democrats, signed the letter. Signatories included Edward J. Markey (pictured), John W. Olver, James P. McGovern, John F. Tierney, Michael E. Capuano, Stephen F. Lynch, Niki Tsongas, William R. Keating, Richard E. Neal and Barney Frank.