To the editor: Congress, industry hijack access to paid TV

What if the government told you that you could no longer subscribe to the New York Times because you live in Vermont—even if you wanted to pay for it at a premium price.

That is exactly what is happening now with broadcast television. Congress has decided that certain area codes can no longer receive distant signals from satellite companies like AT&T’s DIRECTV.

Last night, I was watching CBS Television Network’s channel 390 with the signal coming from New York City – not Burlington or Boston, which are considered local feeds. In the middle of my program, the screen went dark and a message came up telling me I was not a subscriber to this channel and to call to order it. I’m thinking to myself, I’ve been paying for this for 20 years … what the!!!

As background, I have been paying an extra fee to subscribe to CBS, ABC and NBC to receive the New York and LA feeds for over 20 years and am “grandfathered” in to receive these distant signals.

Today, after additional research, I found the culprits – Congress and the broadcast industry. In the past, Congress has heeded the need of rural residents to receive the full complement of network programming, but this year they folded to pressure from the broadcast industry – an industry that is facing major competition and must be envious of the fees captured by satellite TV companies among others.

But, that’s not my problem. I believe we have a right as citizens of this country to explore the news and not be censored by our own government—especially if we’re willing to pay for the privilege. Clearly Congress has folded to outside pressure and as they say it’s all about the money.

Some of you may remember the old cry – I WANT MY MTV … well now I say to Sens. Sanders and Leahy and Rep. Welch, and AT&T, among others, I want the full complement of my CBS, NBC, and ABC distant signals back!

Lynn Barrett
Dummerston Center

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