03.29.2010 01:00 PM
Satellite Bill Gets 30-Day Extension
WASHINGTON: The law governing the carriage of
broadcast signals by satellite TV operators was extended through April last
week. President Barack Obama signed the temporary authority for S. 3186, the
“Satellite Television Extension Act of 2010,” introduced by Sen. John
Rockefeller (D-W.V.) last Thursday. It passed quickly through the House and
Senate without amendment or roll call vote. This extension is the third for the
satellite carriage law, which would have expired Dec. 31, 2009 if not for an
extension to the end of February, then a second to March 28.
Meanwhile, a bill to reauthorize the carriage law for 10 years--S. 3191--passed
in the Senate before lawmakers left for Easter break.
The law dictates parameters of retransmitting broadcast TV signals by satellite
providers into markets other than those served by the broadcaster, or “distant
signals.” Distant signal legislation is a sticky wicket in part because of the
way reception is measured to determine eligibility.
S. 3191 resembles the five-year version of the bill passed by the Senate
Commerce Committee last November, as well as a five-year version pending in the
House. Like those, the 10-year bill also calls for updated language on
reception tests applicable to digital television. It also directs the FCC to
determine how to phase out distant-signal law in favor of market-based
negotiations, and requires direct broadcast satellite operators to carry local
broadcast signals in all 210 U.S. designated market areas. Currently, DirecTV
is north of 150; Dish is north of 180.
November 19, 2009: “Senate Commerce Passes Satellite TV Bill”
What is now known as STELA, for the “Satellite Television Extension and
Localism Act,” passed the committee in a voice vote on a package of bills that
included bones for low-power FM radio stations, sharks, the Chesapeake Bay and
October 15, 2009:
House Commerce Committee Passes
SHVERAH.R. 2994 included a directive for determining digital-signal eligibility
based on new digital reception methodology.
October 8, 2009:
“Broadcasters Fight SHVERA Modifications”
Until a new digital metric is determined, Karpowicz suggested grandfathering in distant signals allowed by the previous
July 15, 2009
: “Congressman Bows Bill to Import TV Signals”
Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross is pushing
legislation to overturn the current rules governing which broadcast signals
satellite and cable operators can carry.
June 25, 2009
: “SHVERA Passes House Subcommittee
The only changes to the legislation as it was
written in 2004 were the date and the provision to measure digital signal
coverage using the Longley-Rice model employed by the FCC.
June 16, 2009
: “Broadcasters Battle for Signal Protection”
The broadcast lobby is playing the localism card
in a big way as Congress considers the renewal of the SHVERA.
May 8, 2009
: “ACA Says Retrans is Squeezing Too Hard”
The cable industry has not yet rolled over on
retransmission consent, whether or not it comes up in pending satellite
March 30, 2009
: “Network Affiliates Urge Lawmakers to Preserve
CBS and NBC are urging key lawmakers to maintain
restrictions on what TV stations cable and satellite operators can carry in a