US satellite TV broadcasters DirecTV and DISH Network have expressed their support of Congressional efforts to reauthorise the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA).
In a joint Statement, they said: “On behalf of our 34 million DirecTV and DISH satellite television customers, we thank the leadership of the US House of Representatives, along with the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Judiciary Committee, for their bipartisan work to reauthorize STELA for five more years. We support H.R. 4572, the ‘STELA Reauthorisation Act of 2014,’ as an important step in Congress’ 2014 STELA reauthorisation process.”
“Critically, the legislation ensures continuity of service to more than 1.5 million distant signal customers who would, otherwise, lose service at the end of this year. It also addresses one of the most egregious forms of retransmission consent abuse – joint negotiating agreements among broadcasters,” they declared.
The measure was set to expire at the end of the year, which would have left those customers, mostly in rural areas, without access to NBC, ABC and other programming.
The bill also makes some changes to the way broadcasters negotiate with cable and satellite companies, eliminates a federal requirement for specific security equipment in cable boxes and gives broadcasters more time to unravel resource-sharing arrangements that the Federal Communications Commission effectively banned earlier in 2014.