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U.S. Supreme Court Denies EchoStar ‘Must Carry’ Petition

By | June 19, 2002

      EchoStar Communications and a satellite industry trade group lost their bid for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments on satellite “must carry” rules that require direct broadcast satellite (DBS) operators to offer all local channels in any market where they offer any local signals.

      “It is clear that Congress, the FCC and the courts are in agreement the must-carry law is constitutional,” EchoStar officials said. EchoStar, which offers local TV channels in 38 TV markets, expressed its intent to continue working with local TV broadcasters to expand into as many market’s as possible under the must-carry provisions.

      Andy Wright, president of the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association, said the association was disappointed the Supreme Court refused to grant the petition for a writ of certiorari regarding the satellite must carry provision of the Satellite Home Viewers Improvement Act.

      “As we have said from the outset, consumers in the marketplace should decide what programming satellite companies carry, not a federal mandate,” Wright said. The Supreme Court’s denial of the appeal will mean that millions of consumers in smaller and mid-sized markets will not receive local channels via satellite, he added.

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