APTS, CPB, PBS urge FCC to consider Native spectrum choices carefully

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As the Federal Communications Commission seeks comments on maximizing spectrum usage to Native American lands, “it is critical the commission does not divest current spectrum being utilized by public television and radio interrupting current services already allocated to tribes and rural communities,” according to comments filed with the FCC by APTS, CPB and PBS on Monday (June 20).

The orgs used an example of TV and radio translators in Utah. That state “possesses a complex and unique geographical make up,” and rural communities and Native American tribes have relied on translators for decades, they said. Utah currently operates and maintains 688 translators — 35 percent of all translators in the country. “Many rural and Native Tribe communities pose the risk of being disconnected if spectrum is reallocated without first reaching a solution to continue service,” the groups said.

“A deployment of extended broadband coverage which interrupts or hinders the current TV and radio broadcasting systems in these communities would simply alleviate one problem while creating another,” the groups said, urging the FCC to carefully study current services allocated to Native Nations, “and work to maintain or successfully transition such indispensable TV translator systems.”