FCC Says EchoStar 'Two-Dish' Plan Violates Law

The FCC has given EchoStar until early May to end its policy of requiring its customers to use two satellite dishes in order to receive certain local television broadcast signals. In an early April ruling, the commission said that the policy violates both the Communications Act and the Commission's rules.

The action was in response to an Emergency Petition from NAB and the now-defunct Association of Local Television Stations. In most of the markets in which EchoStar offers "local-into-local" service, the satellite provider is carrying one or more local broadcast stations on a "wing" satellite that requires subscribers to use a second satellite dish. The commission's Media Bureau rejected EchoStar's argument that because it offers the second dish without charge, that it complies with the FCC's "carry-one, carry-all" rules. The rule affects 11 local stations owned by Entravision Communications, Brunson Communications, Maranatha Broadcasting Co. and others.