At Press Time: Election Holds Up SHVIA Bill
Legislation to re-authorize the Satellite Home Viewer Improve-ment Act (SHVIA) will need to wait for Senate action until lawmakers return from an election-related recess that began at the close of business last Friday. The House approved its version of SHVIA legislation in a voice vote last week but the Senate draft that already cleared its Commerce Committee had not reached the floor at press time, and no immediate plans were in the works to take any action, congressional and industry sources said.
The stakes are high for EchoStar Communications [DISH], which would face an additional $100 million in expenditures if the version of the bill passed by the House becomes law. Company officials are hopeful that whatever final law is passed prior to the existing SHVIA authorization expiring Dec. 31 will include favorable provisions from the Senate Commerce Committee bill. Such provisions would allow rural consumers to receive a distant digital network signal via satellite, and they would grant the carrier more time to move the local channels it provides in each market to just one satellite dish.