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
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
"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.