legal trouble??


Supporting Founder
Original poster
Supporting Founder
Sep 30, 2003
Bergen co NJ
US House panel reviews draft satellite legislation
Thursday April 1, 7:22 pm ET

WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers are contemplating legislation that would require satellite television companies to offer subscribers all local channels on a single dish instead of multiple dishes, according to a draft released on Thursday.

EchoStar Communications Corp. (NasdaqNM:DISH - News), the No. 2 U.S. satellite television company, which uses two satellite dishes in 42 markets where it offers local channels, said the legislation could mean capacity constraints because it would have to put local channels on a single dish.

The legislation would not ban the use of multiple dishes, but an EchoStar executive said limitations could curtail its local offerings.

"The bandwidth is just not there to ensure that consumers receive all the programming that they currently receive under the two-dish system," David Moskowitz, EchoStar's general counsel, told the lawmakers on Thursday.

The Federal Communications Commission has required that subscribers receive any necessary extra equipment for local channels, like a second dish, at no charge.

But some broadcasters that are on that extra dish have worried they would marginalized because subscribers may not want the extra equipment.

Under the draft legislation, new satellite subscribers would have to stop taking the distant network signal once their provider began offering local stations. That provision also drew criticism from the satellite companies.

"As we introduce local-in-local service in particular markets, our customers almost always prefer their local stations," said DirecTV Group Vice Chairman Eddy Hartenstein. "We have never thought Congress should be in the business of shutting down anybody's legal service."

However, the legislation would protect customers who already receive the distant network signal.

The subcommittee plans to consider the legislation in the coming weeks, according to its chairman Rep. Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican.

"This draft serves as a very useful tool for us to continue soliciting input as we work toward a final product," he said.

The provisions are part of a broader measure the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications is working on that would also extend a law authorizing satellite television companies to offer local broadcasts. The current law expires at the end of the year.

The law, known as the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act, allowed satellite companies to offer local channels to subscribers as well as to provide a national network signal if a local affiliate was not available in a market.

However, the statute required the providers to carry all the local stations that wanted to be carried on the service if one of the local channels was available.

Posting full articles from sources like Reuters could cause trouble for Scott. You should be posting LINKS to articles, not the articles themselves.

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