FCC Certifies Dish for Distant Signals

WASHINGTON: The FCC effectively freed Dish Network from a distant-signal injunction. The satellite TV provider can now carry out-of-market TV signals to subscribers who cannot receive in-market broadcast stations. The carrier was enjoined from doing so in a 2006 court fight with CBS. The Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act passed in May allowed Dish to resume distant-signal provision on the condition it carried local TV stations in all 210 designated market areas.

Dish was granted a temporary waiver of the injunction when the law was passed, and added local signals in 29 markets it didn’t yet thus served. The waiver can be extended indefinitely now that the FCC has certified Dish as a qualified carrier of distant signals.

Only one TV station objected to Dish’s certification, according to the FCC. WMDT-TV in Salisbury, Md., elected retransmission consent for its current carriage cycle with Dish, but had yet to reach an agreement with the carrier during the certification period. The FCC said Dish was “neither required nor permitted to carry local commercial stations that have elected retransmission consent unless they grant their consent to be carried. WMDT chose not to elect mandatory carriage, which would have assured it of immediate carriage in this market.”

The commission accepted sworn affidavits that Dish was providing local signals in all 210 U.S. markets, and certified Dish Sept. 1.
-- Deborah D. McAdams