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Ex Parte Meeting with Chanelle Hardy, Chief of Staff/Media Legal Advisor, and Louis Peraertz, Senior Legal Advisor, Office of Commissioner Clyburn, and Robin Colwell, Chief of Staff/Legal Advisor, Media, Office of Commissioner O'Rielly, May 26, 2015

Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
Office of the Secretary
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
Re: In the Matter of Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions (Docket No. 12-268)
Dear Ms. Dortch:

This letter is to notify you that on May 26, 2015, Lonna Thompson, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel, of the Association of Public Television Stations; Cindy Campbell, Vice President, Operations, of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and Eric Wolf, Vice President, Technology Strategy and Planning, and Thomas Rosen, Senior Counsel, of the Public Broadcasting Service (collectively, “PTV”) met with Chanelle Hardy, Chief of Staff and Media Legal Advisor, and Louis Peraertz, Senior Legal Advisor, in the Office of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, and with Robin Colwell, Chief of Staff and Legal Advisor, Media in the Office of Commissioner Michael O’Rielly.

PTV urged the Commission to adopt preventative measures to ensure that the broadcast spectrum incentive auction does not create unserved areas in major markets where millions of Americans could lose access to noncommercial educational service. PTV expressed broad support for a timely and successful incentive auction and the goal of expanding access to broadband, which is a platform that PTV has found through experience to be highly complementary to over-the-air distribution. Nonetheless, given that there are major markets at risk where reliance solely on over-the-air television is almost twenty percent of the population and over thirty percent in underserved minority populations, it is critical that the Commission ensure continued access to noncommercial educational broadcast service. PTV advised that there is a risk of the incentive auction creating unprecedented “white areas” in dozens of communities across the country.

PTV asserted that the Commission has both the authority to reserve a portion of the public airwaves for noncommercial educational service and the obligation to continue doing so. The Commission’s authority derives from the Communications Act, which requires the Commission to “make such distribution of licenses, frequencies, hours of operation, and of power among the several States and communities as to provide a fair, efficient, and equitable distribution of radio service to each of the same.” Pursuant to this mandate, the Commission has consistently worked for over six decades to ensure that all communities across the country have access to noncommercial educational service.

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