Bennet Leads Push for FCC to Deliver Denver TV to Montezuma, La Plata Counties

In Letter, Urges Commission to Work Toward Common Sense Fix in Upcoming Report

Durango, CO – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to address a longstanding problem for Four Corners residents and finally deliver Denver TV to Montezuma and La Plata Counties. In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Bennet asked the commission to use an upcoming report requested by Congress on the matter to take the first steps toward a common sense solution that gives Four Corners residents access to television broadcasts in their own state.

“To most people this issue appears easily solvable,” Bennet said. “Southwest Coloradans should have the same basic ability to see broadcasts from their own state as every other county in Colorado.  Washington’s failure to find a pragmatic solution is disappointing and offers Southwest Coloradans proof that Washington is simply broken.”

Earlier this week, Bennet called on Four Corners residents to submit their opinions on allowing Southwest Coloradans to receive television coverage from their own state to the FCC’s Media Bureau. The comments, which are due January 24th, will be used by the FCC to help formulate the report to Congress on communities’ ability to receive in-state broadcasts. The report was required by Congress in the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010, a new law supported by Bennet.

For more information on the Four Corners Television Access Act that Bennet introduced last Congress, please click here.

The full text of the letter follows:


January 24, 2011

Julius Genachowski

Chairman

Federal Communications Commission

445 12th St, SW

Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Genachowski:

I would like to offer the following comments to the Federal Communications Commission as it begins work on a report regarding in-state broadcasts as required under Section 304 of the Satellite Television and Localism Act of 2010. As you know two counties in Colorado, La Plata and Montezuma, are ‘orphan counties’ and are unable to obtain in-state broadcasts.  This unfair anomaly is a major concern to my constituents in Southwest Colorado who argue persuasively that they should have the same basic ability to see broadcasts from their own state as every other county in Colorado.  I strongly support their view and am committed to working to secure them access to the television broadcasts that relate to the news, politics, sports and emergency notifications of their own state. 

This situation has attracted strong support from the State of Colorado. In both 2008 and 2010 the State Legislature of Colorado passed resolutions urging the federal government, including the FCC, to take action to address this situation.  The resolution concludes that this situation leaves the citizens of Southwest Colorado “disenfranchised in that they find themselves much better informed about the laws, issues, and candidates of New Mexico than they are about the laws, issues, and candidates of Colorado.”  I could not agree more.  To most interested parties this issue appears easily solvable.  However the current system of Designated Market Areas does not have the required flexibility to address problems such as this. The failure of Washington, D.C. to find a pragmatic solution perplexes my constituents and offers many of them proof that Washington is simply broken.

Thankfully this report, as requested by Congress, offers the FCC an opportunity to put forth a common sense solution on how to address this problem. I therefore strongly urge the FCC to  use this report as the first crucial step to fix this longstanding problem. Thank you for your attention to this request and I look forward to working with your Commission to resolve this issue.

Sincerely,

Michael F. Bennet

United States Senator