Legislative update: Alaska Rural Communication Service

LH-1O4C2990

Governor Parnell recently placed $5.3 million in the 2014 Capital Budget for digital conversion of the Alaska Rural Communication Service analog television transmitters throughout Alaska.  The Alaska Rural Communications Service (ARCS) is a television service, formerly known as RATNet, owned and operated by the State of Alaska as a public communications service to rural communities.  Because of lack of funding, many villages have paid for repairs for ARCS’s state-owned equipment, as well as provided power and housing for the equipment.  At the 2012 Annual AFN Convention passed Resolution 12-34:  A RESOLUTION URGING GOVERNOR PARNELL AND THE ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE TO ENSURE THAT THE ALASKA RURAL COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE TELEVISON NETWORK IS FUNDED TO CONVERT TO DIGITAL SERVICE.   ARCS’s low power transmitters in the villages are still analog, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has established a deadline of September 1, 2015 for converting all analog services to digital and failure to convert to digital will result in FCC shut-off.

AFN invites you to call and write to the Senate Finance Committee Co-Chairman Senator Pete Kelly and Senator Kevin Meyer about how important ARCS is to your rural community.  If you wish, you can write your own letter, or copy and paste the letter of support below and send to Sen.Pete.Kelly@akleg.gov and Sen.Kevin.Meyer@akleg.gov.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Dear Senate Finance Committee Co-Chairs Senator Kelly and Senator Meyer,

 

The Alaska Rural Communications Service (ARCS), managed by the State of Alaska to provide free, over the air television service, is still the primary source of vital weather and emergency information for rural Alaska communities. Many of our cash strapped communities have to pay for repairs for ARCS state owned equipment and there is no funding source for the required conversion to digital from analog.

I urge you to support Governor Parnell’s Capital budget request of $5.3 million for the State of Alaska to convert the ARCS analog LPTV fleet to digital.  Such conversion will modernize the aging infrastructure and ensure that rural Alaskan ARCS viewers continue to receive this vital, free-to-watch, over the air television service long after the Federally Mandated Analog Transmitter turn-off date of September 1, 2015.

Sincerely,

Your name

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

AFN urges you to email and call Senator Kelly and Senator Meyer.  You may send written letters to:

Senator Pete Kelly
State Capitol Room 516
Juneau AK, 99801
Phone: 907-465-3709
Fax: 907-465-4714
 
Senator Kevin Meyer
State Capitol Room 518
Juneau AK, 99801
Phone: 907-465-4945
Fax: 907-465-3476