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Rural Groups Oppose STELAR Reauthorization

WASHINGTON—Speaking on behalf of a number of organizations representing the interests of thousands of rural residents, the Rural & Agriculture Council of America has issued a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) opposing the the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR), which the committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, Oct. 23.

RACA, along with nine other organizations, cosigned a letter this past summer that said how STELAR negatively affects people in rural communities.

“There is a notable lack of reliable broadband and wireless connections in rural areas along with abysmal internet speeds, and this legislative loophole creates a broadcast television divide,” Jack Alexander, president of RACA, wrote in this new letter. “Rural Americans rely on local broadcasting for critical news and information about our communities and, especially when we are out in the field, up-to-the-minute weather and emergency information. Broadcasters work hand-in-hand as first informers with first responders in our neighborhoods, yet for residents of rural America in the communities affected by STELAR, we receive none of this sometimes lifesaving programming during times of crisis.

“For these reasons rural leaders remain steadfast our position and ask that Congress to allow STELAR to expire and end this broadcast television divide in rural America.”

For more information on the hearing, or to watch a live webcast, click here.