09.15.16

Gardner Secures Commitment from FCC Chairman to Work to Resolve Southwest TV Issue

Gardner to Convene Meeting in Durango with Interested Stakeholders

Washington, DC Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, secured a commitment from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler to work with interested stakeholders to resolve the Four Corners TV issue at today’s Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing. Gardner also announced he will hold a meeting between the Colorado Broadcasters Association, DISH, and Montezuma and La Plata County Commissioners to discuss ways to bring Colorado television to Southwest Colorado.

Throughout his time in Congress, Gardner has worked diligently to bring Colorado television to Southwest Colorado. In 2014, Gardner fought alongside Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) to insert language in the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) that advanced the process of getting Colorado TV to La Plata and Montezuma counties. Gardner also sent a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt a new rule allowing counties to petition for in-state TV signals and welcomed the decision when the new rule was announced in February.

Watch the exchange here

RUSH TRANSCRIPT

SENATOR GARDNER: As we’ve discussed before, satellite TV subscribers in La Plata and Montezuma Counties in Southwestern Colorado, the Four Corners area, currently receive New Mexico-based broadcasts. In addition, geographic challenges unfortunately leave the vast majority of those viewers without access to over-the-air broadcast signals, obviously some significant mountains in-between Denver, the Front Range, and Durango, and I commend the work that the broadcasters and satellite providers, both broadcasters and satellite providers, continue to engage in as they work to deliver Colorado TV to all four corners of Colorado. 

Congress also worked to address this issue in the 2014 STELAR legislation by extending the market modification process to satellite TV. As they crafted the final rules to carry out this provision, I, along with Senator Bennet and others, urged the FCC to permit County Commissioners to petition for market modification and I thank you for adopting that option. 

In light of those rules, the Commissioners from both La Plata County and Montezuma County have expressed interest in moving forward with the market modification process. DISH has also indicated that providing Colorado television is not technically infeasible. The Colorado broadcasters recently sent both Senator Bennet and I a letter stating that they are willing to provide their content to DISH in the two counties. 

With this progress, I’m calling on the County Commissioners in Colorado, at this hearing, the broadcasters, and DISH together so that we can convene a meeting next month in Colorado to discuss ways we can reach a final resolution. I hope that Senator Bennet and Congressman Tipton will be able to join me in that meeting as well. We’ve got to get this finally solved.

CHAIRMAN WHEELER: If we can help in that, we’d be happy to be at that meeting too. You tell me how we can be helpful.

SENATOR GARDNER: Thank you, and I would just again reiterate that commitment, you’ve given it to me here and before, that the FCC will expeditiously review any market modification petition submitted by La Plata or Montezuma. I thank you very much for that.

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.

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