NO. R-27.† JOINT RESOLUTION urging the Vermont Congressional Delegation to assist in assuring the availability of Vermont‑based television stations on all home satellite delivery systems in the state.

(J.R.H. 6)

Offered by:† Representatives Obuchowski of Rockingham, Hube of Londonderry and Partridge of Windham.

Whereas, although nationally distributed television channels offer an array of specialized programming, the original means of television transmission, the local channels, remains a vital source for coverage of Vermont news, sports, politics, and community events, and

Whereas, because of Vermontís mountainous terrain, the traditional means of transmitting local television channels over the airwaves to home‑based antennas is inaccessible for many Vermonters, and

Whereas, the construction of cable television systems in rural areas has been limited, and a greater percentage of Vermonters than residents in most, if not all, other states relies on satellite delivery systems for television reception, and

Whereas, in response to this technological dilemma, Congress enacted the Satellite Home Improvement Act of 1999, which established the legal mechanisms enabling satellite companies to customize their delivery package of offerings to include local television stations, and

Whereas, in the Act, Congress delegated the authority to determine which channels should be offered in a designated market area (DMA) to the Federal Communications Commission, and

Whereas, recently, following the Commissionís DMA geographic boundaries, the Dish Network, a direct-to-home satellite television delivery service, began to offer a package of local television channels based in Burlington and Plattsburgh, New York to all of its Vermont customers except those in Windham and Bennington counties who were offered a package of Boston‑based stations whose local news, sports, weather, and public affairs coverage is focused on metropolitan Boston, not Vermont, and

Whereas, while the Commissionís regulations for determining DMA boundaries are based on Nielsen Media Researchís nationally compiled data, and a process exists for consumers to file complaints concerning DMA boundaries, individual consumers in southern Vermontís more rural locations are greatly disappointed and frustrated after eagerly anticipating finally having the technical ability to view locally‑based television stations, and

Whereas, in order to assure that all Vermonters have the opportunity to see Vermontís locally-based television stations, the assistance of the Vermont Congressional Delegation, on behalf of the residents of Bennington and Windham counties, is necessary, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly urges the members of the Vermont Congressional Delegation to convey the disappointment and frustration of Bennington and Windham county residents directly to the Commission in order to assure that the purpose of the Act, which is to enable all residents to receive locally‑based television signals via satellite delivery, is fulfilled, and be it further

Resolved:† That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to each member of the Vermont Congressional Delegation.