Dish Seeks to Have Distant-Signal Injunction Lifted

WASHINGTON: Dish Network has asked the Federal Communications Commission to free it from a court injunction involving distant broadcast signals. In response, the FCC has opened a docket for feedback on Dish’s commitment to provide local TV station in all 210 U.S. markets. The direct broadcast satellite operator made the pledge to Congress in order to get the 2006 court injunction lifted. The injunction prohibits Dish from importing distant signals into local TV markets. Importation is otherwise allowed in areas where households cannot receive in-market signals over-the-air.

Congress in May renewed the legislation governing satellite carriage of broadcast signals. The Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 requires Dish to carry local signals in all 210 U.S. markets to get the injunction lifted.

“Waiver of this injunction would allow Dish to retransmit the signals of out-of-market television stations to eligible subscribers, including providing subscribers in all local markets in the country with out-of market network affiliates if there are no affiliates of that network available in-market,” the FCC notice states.

The FCC has to verify that Dish is carrying local TV station signals to at least 90 percent of households in all designated market areas. Dish’s application to have the injunction lifted must be answered by the FCC within 90 days. The commission seeks comments and replies by July 30 on the correlating Docket No. 10-124. Comments can be filed electronically at
-- Deborah D. McAdams