DALLAS—AT&T has announced a new multi-year carriage agreement with Fox that will continue to provide the network’s content to DirecTV subscribers after the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) ends on June 1.
STELAR allowed providers like AT&T to deliver signals of out-of-market broadcast network stations to specific groups of customers, including truckers, RVs and others at a blanket license rate. That ability will stop as of June 1, requiring individual deals with each network. AT&T has been pushing for an extension of the deadline to Jan. 1, 2021, so signals are not lost during the coronavirus pandemic.
AT&T said in a press release that it is currently in discussions with each major national broadcast network to continue to provide their signals. Fox is the only deal at this time.
“It is critical for our customers to be able to access network TV programming, especially during this global pandemic,” said Tim McKone, AT&T executive vice president of Federal Relations. “With this agreement, essential workers, like those on oil rigs and long-haul truckers, can stay connected with news and information. We appreciate Fox for putting the interests of consumers first and we hope the other networks follow suit.”
AT&T could have preserved its blanket license from STELAR by agreeing to deliver local signals to a dozen small markets, something that competitor Dish did.
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