Legislation would allow importation of TV signals

Legislation introduced in the House would allow cable and satellite operators to carry TV station signals from adjacent designated market areas (DMAs), especially in areas where those DMAs cross state lines.

The legislation, called the Television Freedom Act of 2007, was introduced by Reps. Mike Ross D-AR, and Barbara Cubin, R-WY. If enacted, it would give satellite and cable companies the ability to provide their customers local channels from their home state.

Current law specifies that television broadcast stations be transmitted primarily within their DMA, which is assigned by the Nielsen Media Research Company. Because of these laws, many consumers cannot receive the local channels of the state in which they live and work. In addition, 47 percent of DMAs cross a state line, which means that millions of subscribers are left watching the local channels of their neighboring state.

“The time has come to stop delivering 21st century technologies with 1950s business practices,” Ross said. “Americans should not be bound by outdated laws that prevent them from receiving their home state programming. Everyone who wishes to receive their local channels in their home state should have the option to do so.”

The American Cable Association supports the legislation, while the NAB said it is reviewing the bill.