WASHINGTON: A House subcommittee passed the bill reauthorizing carriage of TV signals by direct broadcast satellite operators. H.R. 2994, the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act passed by a voice vote of the House Communications, Technology and Internet subcommittee. The only changes to the legislation as it was written in 2004 were the date and the provision to measure digital signal coverage using the Longley-Rice model employed by the FCC. The bill renews satellite carriage of certain out-of-market broadcast signals for another five years.
Rick Boucher, the Virginia Democrat who heads the subcommittee, said carriers, broadcasters and lawmakers are also close to working out full local-into-local coverage. Currently, DirecTV offers local stations in 150 of 210 markets, he said. Dish carries local stations in around 180 markets.
“I can report this morning that we are very close to agreement on an arrangement through which all 210 markets will receive local satellite-delivered service,” Boucher said in a statement.
He also said that the House Commerce and Judiciary committees would look into areas where people can’t receive the local TV channels in their own markets.
“While satellite carriers can today import distant signals from any market, they are hindered in their desire to bring in adjacent market signals by the so-called ‘Grade B bleed’ problem, which prevents them from offering distant signals to those households that can receive the signal of an out of market network affiliate over the air,” he said. “That problem can and should be usefully addressed.”
NAB hailed the vote as a victory for local broadcasters.
"NAB appreciates the great leadership of Chairman Boucher, Ranking Member Stearns and their colleagues in unanimously passing a bill that recognizes the enduring value of free and local television," the association said. "NAB will continue to work with lawmakers on the Commerce and Judiciary Committees in both the House and Senate to ensure that local broadcasting is preserved and strengthened as this legislation moves forward."
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