Chief Sponsor: Ralph Okerlund

House Sponsor: Kay L. McIff

7     Cosponsors:
8     J. Stuart Adams
David P. Hinkins
Kevin T. Van Tassell
Evan J. Vickers

11     General Description:
12          This concurrent resolution of the Legislature and the Governor urges the federal
13     government to protect the communications spectrum that allows Utah's translator
14     system to provide free television access across the state.
15     Highlighted Provisions:
16          This resolution:
17          ▸     strongly urges the President of the United States and the Federal Communications
18     Commission (FCC) to not remove channels 32 through 51 from the current existing
19     FCC channels 14 through 51 Television Broadcast Authorization because of the
20     significant negative impact that action would have on off-air television reception in
21     urban areas and to off-air viewers nationwide, including rural viewers, who would
22     be forced to either pay for subscription television or go without television service.
23     Special Clauses:
24          None

26     Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah, the Governor concurring therein:
27          WHEREAS, the word "translator," as selected by the Federal Communications
28     Commission (FCC) in 1955, refers to the rebroadcast of a primary television station channel to

29     a different output channel;
30          WHEREAS, through the years, many people have misunderstood this broadcasting term
31     to mean translating a language;
32          WHEREAS, the purpose and function of a television translator is to provide citizens of
33     rural communities with access to television reception equivalent to what is available for urban
34     citizens;
35          WHEREAS, the rebroadcast of a primary television station channel to a different output
36     channel was designated a "secondary service" to a full power television primary station only;
37          WHEREAS, through many commercial lobbying efforts, this "secondary service" status
38     has been reduced to being secondary to almost any other communications service;
39          WHEREAS, the President of the United States has directed the Chair of the FCC to
40     consider removing channels 32 through 51 from the current FCC channels 14 through 51
41     Television Broadcast Authorization;
42          WHEREAS, this action would devastate off-air television reception to urban areas and
43     also cause disruption to off-air viewers nationwide;
44          WHEREAS, according to FCC records dated January 8, 2016, 3,604 television
45     translator stations, 417 Class A Low Power Television (LPTV) stations, 1,822 LPTV stations,
46     and 4 television booster stations are now on file;
47          WHEREAS, according to FCC records, over 3,600 television translator stations
48     presently provide free over-the-air television to rural communities throughout the nation;
49          WHEREAS, if this channel repacking were to become a reality, many of these
50     translator stations would no longer remain in operation, requiring viewers to subscribe to either
51     cable or satellite programming;
52          WHEREAS, Utah has 778 television translator stations, and the state's rural viewers
53     would be forced to either pay for subscription television or have no television reception;
54          WHEREAS, after 40 years of analog broadcasting, the United States Congress
55     mandated the broadcasting industry to make a conversion from analog to digital operation;
56          WHEREAS, supplying the general public with free over-the-air digital television

57     broadcast signals has been encouraged by elected officials and the FCC;
58          WHEREAS, since the mandate, all television translator and LPTV licensees in the state
59     of Utah have engaged in planning, acquiring necessary funding, providing necessary
60     engineering with labor, construction, and travel, constructing new buildings, upgrading existing
61     buildings with air-conditioning, utilizing crane services to erect new towers, and completing
62     extensive FCC licensing to help consummate the digital television (DTV) transition;
63          WHEREAS, through cooperation of the state's counties, the University of Utah, the
64     state of Utah, and the FCC the DTV transition has been made successful;
65          WHEREAS, the state of Utah has supported the DTV transition through four
66     Community Impact Board grants since 2005 in the amount of nearly $9,000,000;
67          WHEREAS, the University of Utah supported the DTV transition with a federal grant
68     of approximately $2,000,000;
69          WHEREAS, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a
70     division of the federal government, offered all television translator and LPTV licensees a
71     reimbursement program for the digital to analog conversion;
72          WHEREAS, small rural cable companies are using digital television translator signals
73     for their systems free of charge instead of paying for satellite feeds;
74          WHEREAS, repacking would cause eight Salt Lake City primary television stations to
75     find new channels, causing significant consequences to both urban and rural communities in
76     the state of Utah;
77          WHEREAS, it would be impossible to continue the "Utah Daisy Chain" rural digital
78     television translator services if the proposed block of television channels were reclaimed by the
79     FCC, and this action would have a negative local economic impact to the affected counties;
80          WHEREAS, in many rural areas of Utah and all across the nation, the spectrum above
81     channel 51 sits vacant and unused;
82          WHEREAS, small rural areas are not economically attractive to large Internet business
83     enterprises seeking more spectrum;
84          WHEREAS, the needs of urban areas are far different from the needs of small rural

85     communities and are a classic example of "one size does not fit all";
86          WHEREAS, broadcasters are required by the FCC to participate in the national
87     Emergency Alert System and are also required to make regular tests to assure their systems are
88     always ready to broadcast any local warnings, including flood conditions, high wind warnings,
89     and bad road conditions, and these warnings are automatically retransmitted through television
90     translator stations to alert rural viewers;
91          WHEREAS, closed captioning for the deaf is also a mandatory requirement of primary
92     broadcast stations and automatically passes through television translators to rural viewers;
93          WHEREAS, if these viewers do not have access to any local free over-the-air broadcast
94     signals, they proceed without local warnings or closed captioning for the deaf;
95          WHEREAS, counties in Utah are presently licensed with the FCC for 778 digital
96     television translators, or 30%, of the nation's digital television translator licenses;
97          WHEREAS, the FCC seeks to allow anyone to operate unlicensed signals on unused
98     channels within the present television bands, while the FCC still requires television translator
99     stations to be licensed in these same bands;
100          WHEREAS, these unlicensed devices will cause interference to existing digital
101     television services nationwide, and many television translator viewers will possibly be
102     vulnerable to unacceptable interference because they receive their home signals far beyond the
103     FCC protected contours; and
104          WHEREAS, the federal government should ensure that rural communities in Utah and
105     throughout the nation are not forced to either pay for subscription television service or go
106     without television:
107          NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah, the
108     Governor concurring therein, strongly urges the President of the United States and the FCC to
109     not remove channels 32 through 51 from the current existing FCC channels 14 through 51
110     Television Broadcast Authorization because of its negative impact on off-air television
111     reception in urban areas and off-air viewers nationwide, including rural viewers, who would be
112     forced to either pay for subscription television or go without television service.

113          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the President of
114     the United States, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United
115     States House of Representatives, the Chair of the FCC and each commission member, the
116     National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and the members of Utah's
117     congressional delegation.