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FCC Order Sets Rules for DBS Availability of Out-of-Market Stations

The FCC released a Report and Order regarding implementation of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act of 2004. The Report and Order outlines the conditions under which stations are considered "significantly viewed" and thus eligible to be offered in other markets. The Report and Order outlines rules for DBS operators' carriage of significantly viewed stations.

One rule prevents satellite operators from using more bandwidth to deliver a significantly viewed network affiliate than the local affiliate. The Report and Order, states, "As a condition to offering a significantly viewed digital signal, satellite carriers must comply with the 'equivalent bandwidth' and 'entire bandwidth' requirements, which permit satellite carriage of a significantly viewed station only if the amount of bandwidth used to carry such station is equivalent to the amount of bandwidth used to carry the signal or signals of the affiliated local network station, or the entire amount of bandwidth used by the local station."

The rules generally follow those in place for cable TV operators carrying significantly viewed stations. In some cases, some programming on a significantly view station may need be deleted to protect exclusivity rights of the local station. The Report and Order includes Appendix C1 listing stations significantly in specific states and counties.