California congressional members urge FCC to preserve free television

Several members of Congress from California have written the FCC asking it to make a top goal of the upcoming incentive auctions to preserve access to free, over-the-air television.

The letter, dated Dec. 11, noted figures that show over-the-air viewers have grown to 54 million and is continuing to get larger. The Congressional members said that since California’s residents are more likely to be over-the-air viewers than the mainstream population, preserving free television service is “absolutely critical.”

The members expressed concern that the auction proposal lacks detail about border coordination with Mexico and Canada and how the FCC will prevent viewer and program disruptions from the auction.

Also on the list were concerns about low-power stations in California. LP stations cannot participate in the auctions and could lose their licenses as a result of changes. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said this week the FCC has not yet considered details on low-power stations.