FCC Adopts New Rules to Address Orphan Counties Issue

Good news for satellite TV customers in Northeast Georgia who have not been able to get the Atlanta TV stations.

Soon that will change.

Typically, satellite TV customers who live in counties between two major markets, live in what is known as “Orphan Counties.”

In those cases, satellite customers are automatically assigned to the local TV stations that are closest.

Normally, that is not a problem, but in the case of Northeast Georgia satellite TV customers, the closest local TV stations are in Greenville, SC, which frustrates many in the Northeast Georgia counties of Franklin, Hart, Stephens and Elbert counties, who have DirectTV or DISH because they cannot get the Atlanta TV stations for the Georgia news. 

But last week, the Federal Communications Commission referred to a unique ruling passed in 2014 that will allow them to put Northeast Georgia satellite TV customers back under metro Atlanta TV stations.

U.S. Representative Doug Collins has been working for years on getting customers in his 9th District switched to the metro Atlanta stations.

Collins said he’s pleased with the FCC move, and called it a good first step.

We see it as a good step forward,” Collins said. “They’ve taken in a lot of the concerns that we’ve had.”

Under the ruling, local government bodies will have to formally submit the request to the FCC.

However, Collins said the exact implementation is still unclear.

We’re working to see how that’s going to work,” he said. “As soon as we see how it will work, we will present that to the local governments. At least it is clear to me that this is not a complete fix, but it provides us the opportunity to move towards providing choice in this area.”

Collins said the ruling is an example of his office making the concerns of his constituents a priority.