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Ohio Congressional Delegation seeks RF coordination assurances

The Ohio Congressional Delegation have urged the FCC to lay out more specifics on how it proposes to coordinate with the governments of Canada and Mexico when repacking TV spectrum following the agency’s incentive auction.

Signed by 15 members of Congress and the state’s two U.S. Senators, the letter, dated Feb. 28, said coordination is particularly important to those living in the Cleveland-Akron, Toledo and Youngstown, Ohio, television markets.

“Today, these media markets must coordinate interference protections with already congested markets such as Detroit, Erie and Buffalo, which leaves very little room for error with the Canadian government,” the letter said.

The lawmakers asked the FCC to “pay close attention to our Ohio constituents” and their ability to receive over-the-air television service. While it is important to put the wireless industry on the right track to meet growing bandwidth demand from smartphones and media tablets, “it is of the utmost importance that the FCC protects the public’s ability to receive free television from local stations that remain on the air after the auction.”

According to the letter, Ohio’s population relies heavily on OTA television. More than 1 million residents rely exclusively on free local television for news, information and weather, the letter said.

The delegation also expressed concern with the repack and its consequences on both viewers and stations. “As witnessed four short years ago during our nation's transition to digital television, moving televisions [sic] stations has the ability to cause consumer disruptions. Therefore, during the repacking of broadcasters, it will be important to minimize coverage area disruption,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman as well as U.S. Reps. Robert Latta, Steve Chabot, Brad Wenstrup, Joyce Beatty, Jim Jordan, Bill Johnson, Bob Gibbs, Marcy Kaptur, Michael Turner, Marcia Fudge, Patrick Tiberi, Tim Ryan, David Joyce, Steve Stivers and James Renacci.