Bennet Calls on Stakeholders to Resolve Issues Surrounding In-State TV Broadcasts for La Plata, Montezuma Counties

Bennet Has Led Efforts to Bring Colorado Broadcasts to Four Corners

Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today joined Senator Cory Gardner in calling on all stakeholders to come together and finally resolve issues around La Plata and Montezuma Counties' access to local in-state broadcasts from satellite providers. Currently, the counties receive television broadcasts from New Mexico rather than Colorado, and thus do not receive local news, sports, and emergency information.

"Coloradans in La Plata and Montezuma counties have waited far too long to access local news, sports, and weather," Bennet said. "We've made significant progress in the last year helping to bring local broadcasts to the Four Corners region. I look forward to convening a meeting with our Congressional delegation, Denver broadcasters, satellite companies, and local officials to find a resolution once and for all."

Since coming to the Senate, Bennet has worked alongside officials from La Plata and Montezuma Counties to help residents access in-state broadcasts for news, weather, emergency information, and sports. Over the past several years, Bennet's office has worked with local officials to provide technical assistance and resources to help the counties petition the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to add the counties to the Denver television market, and have engaged with the Denver broadcasters and satellite companies to be responsive to the counties requests.

In 2010, Bennet pushed Congress to require the FCC to report on potential solutions to bring Colorado broadcasts to the two counties. He then urged the FCC Commission to use that report as a first step to resolve the issue and encouraged Coloradans to submit their feedback during the comment period for the report. The FCC issued the report in August 2011 along with feedback from Coloradans and Bennet. The report outlined several potential alternatives to resolve the issue.

Bennet also worked with former Senator Mark Udall to introduce several different bills to allow access to Colorado TV, including a 2014 bill that would allow cable and satellite providers to transmit signals from Colorado-based broadcast stations. Working with the Senate Commerce Committee, Bennet and Udall secured language in the bipartisan Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) Act that created the path to allow county commissions to petition the FCC directly to change broadcasting markets to better serve their communities. The STELAR Act modernizes rules for satellite and cable providers and broadcast television markets.

Following up on the passage of the STELAR Act, Bennet, along with Gardner and Representative Scott Tipton, wrote a letter to the FCC requesting this rule change to allow counties to petition the FCC directly. This rule was finalized in February 2016.