House Commerce Committee Passes SHVERA

The House Commerce Committee passed its version of satellite TV legislation this week. The Satellite Home Viewer Extension Act, up for renewal this year, determines what broadcast signals a satellite TV provider can carry into a given market. The House bill was marked up to include a new way to measure signal reception.

Households on the fringe of designated market areas that cannot receive stations from within the market are eligible to receive distant signals from other markets via satellite.

The methodology for determining household eligibility for distant signals is based on analog transmission. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) introduced an amendment directing the FCC to come up with a new digital metric using the Longley-Rice model.

The amended bill, H.R. 2994, gives the commission 180 days to create a new predictive model for determining DTV reception via a stationary, 30-foot rooftop antenna (as well as other antenna types).

The new version also allows Dish Network to deliver distant signals in exchange for delivering local-into-local in all 210 DMAs within the next two years. Another amendment requires Dish to carry the HD signals of public TV stations by 2011.

The bill passed the committee by voice vote. It must be reconciled with legislation passed by the Judiciary Committee before going for a floor vote. Companion SHVERA legislation in the Senate was the subject of a subcommittee hearing there last week.