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Orphan Counties

Rural communities in northeast Georgia rely on local programming to stay aware of local news and weather. However, four counties in the Ninth District of Georgia—Stephens, Elbert, Hart, and Franklin—are considered “orphan counties” because they receive satellite programming based in South Carolina rather than their home state.

When I came to Congress, residents of these counties told me that they wanted access to Georgia programming, which is why I successfully fought to have language included in the 2014 Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization Act that allows counties to petition the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to change their market area in order to receive in-state programming. This language was signed into law, and the FCC finalized the corresponding regulation in 2016. Counties are now able to petition the FCC to change their market areas, and I have been working alongside the Ninth District’s orphan counties to provide resources to make their petitions a success.

I will continue to work with local communities to ensure our neighbors have access to important local news, public safety information, and programming.

Related Content

July 21, 2017
Op-Ed
"This is the kind of local initiative that I’ve been a part of in northeast Georgia, and Colorado’s news means that Elbert, Franklin, Hart and Stephens Counties have a model for success for appealing to the FCC for local programming options."
March 10, 2016
Press Release
“Like many rural areas, the Ninth District of Georgia has counties bordering another state that are in that state’s media market, and therefore unable to access local programming."