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Sale of airwaves could jeopardize antenna TV, county seeks comments

By Rick Sherman
Sun Advocate Reporter

Baby Boomers can remember when television broadcasts were received only through the air and telephone service was delivered only through a cable. Now with cell phones and cable TV, it is largely the other way around, but each service is available by both delivery methods.
The Boomers were the first generation to grow up with a family television set. Programs were all in black and white, and there were no remote controls- the task of changing channels was assigned to the youngsters.
Television reception required a rooftop antenna that was pointed toward mountaintop repeaters, or translator stations to get the best signal from the three or four television stations which were then broadcasting in Utah.
Some viewers still prefer to use antennas for their television reception. Carbon County is currently broadcasting as many as 33 free, over-the-air digital television channels and sub channels on the UHF band. County communication sites include Star Point, Ford Ridge and Helper.
But free TV is in danger, according to a Carbon County news release. I.T. and Communications Director Barry Horsley cautioned a recent action by the FCC threatens to reduce the available broadcast spectrum for over the air TV. The federal agency has sold a segment of the radio frequency spectrum that Utah uses for television broadcasts, which limits the availability of free television programs.

Comments invited

Because of the nature of the delivery for the antenna system, there is no way to know how many people use it. So county officials are reaching out to the public to determine how much of the population will be affected.
County officials are advising antenna users to visit the website, www.carbon.utah.gov/freetv and fill out a brief form, or call 435-636-3275 to provide the address where they receive free broadcast TV. The information will be used in an attempt to keep the television signal available in the most-used regions.
The news release concludes, “Knowing how much of the public is affected will assist us in obtaining funding and options as we move forward and develop solutions to this issue. Please assist others (to) respond as well to help ensure the future of over the air TV.”

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