NAB Blasts EchoStar, SBCA Proposals

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has filed reply comments in the FCC Annual Assessment of the Status of Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming that focus entirely on comments filed by the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association (SBCA) and EchoStar Communications Corporation (EchoStar). NAB said that these comments "contain a variety of mistaken factual claims and ill-conceived policy proposals." Most of the arguments have been previously discussed in RF Report articles on the SHVIA debate in Congress. (See RF Report for April 5, 2004, July 27, 2004 andAugust 2, 2004.)

The reply comments note that the "digital white area" proposal advanced by the SBCA "would have devastating effects on free, local, over-the-air stations in many markets." NAB refuted claims by DBS firms that they don't have the capacity to carry more local stations, saying they have many different methods for increasing their ability to deliver local stations, explaining "These methods, such as use of improved (MPEG-4) compression technology and combining Ku-band and Ka-band spectrum, will enable satellite carriers to offer not only universal analog local-to-local but also local digital high-definition and multicast signals." NAB also said, "EchoStar's 'two-dish' major abuse of local into local has been allowed to continue far too long and must be remedied."

Responding to calls for revision of the standard for determining whether a viewer was served by a local station, association noted that the commission "has repeatedly and properly rejected SBCA's hackneyed criticism of the ILLR model, and of the Grade B intensity standard for reception of analog signals."

Refer to the Reply Comments of the National Association of Broadcasters for more detail and information on NAB's concerns about application of "significantly-viewed" station status to DBS and restrictions on bundling retransmission consent with carriage of non broadcast channels. Using the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System, you can view all comments filing in this proceeding (MB 04-227).