House Committee Marks Up SHVIA Re-Authorization Bill
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet yesterday approved a bill to re-authorize the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act (SHVIA) of 1999 prior to the expiration of some of the act’s key elements at year’s end. Wednesday’s mark-up followed two previous hearings that examined the need to re-authorize SHVIA.
The legislation will help to ensure customers in rural America receive local programming from satellite TV providers, said Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Cable operators provide a “wonderful” multi-channel service in the markets they serve but many people across the country lack access to local broadcast programming, and they depend on satellite television to meet that need, he added.
EchoStar Communications [DISH] officials expressed great disappointment with a provision that would prevent satellite operators from using two dishes in any given market to offer local channels to consumers. A two-dish configuration enhances capacity by using two different orbital locations instead of one, said company spokesman Steve Caulk. EchoStar officials will seek changes in the bill to address that concern and others as it moves forward in Congress, Caulk added.
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