Bennet, Gardner Applaud FCC New Rule to Help “Orphan Counties” Receive Local Broadcasting

New Rules Come in Response to Joint Letter to FCC

Durango, CO - Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner applauded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for approving new rules that will help rural counties like La Plata and Montezuma access local in-state broadcasts from cable and satellite providers. Currently, La Plata and Montezuma counties receive television broadcasts from New Mexico rather than Colorado, meaning they are unable to receive local news, sports, and emergency information.

In April, Bennet, Gardner, and Congressman Scott Tipton wrote a letter to the FCC requesting this rule change so that county commissions in the Four Corners region can petition the FCC directly to change broadcasting markets to better serve their communities.

"If you live in Colorado it's just common sense that you should be able to receive Colorado broadcasting," Bennet said. "La Plata and Montezuma counties have been working on this issue for years. We're glad to have worked with them to push the FCC to make this change which brings us a step closer to finally resolving it."

"Communities in Southwestern Colorado have long expressed the desire to receive Colorado broadcasting, as they rightly should," said Gardner. "The FCC's new rules pave the way for it and allow for progress toward a resolution."

"La Plata County is very excited that we will now have the ability to petition directly to the FCC to obtain in state television broadcasts," said Gwen Lachelt Chair of the La Plata County Commission. "This is a longstanding priority for our community and we deeply appreciate the work of Senator Bennet, Senator Gardner and Congressman Tipton to request the FCC grant this authority to county governments. We appreciate the FCC making this decision and we look forward to working with them on our petition for Denver TV."

These actions implement one of the statutory requirements in the bipartisan Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) Act of 2014 passed by Congress last year to modernize rules regarding the satellite, cable, and broadcast television markets.

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