Advanced Television

US STELA Act stymied again

November 25, 2019

By Chris Forrester

The renewal of the long-standing STELA (Satellite Television Extension & Localism Act Reauthorisation) rules have hit another problem.

The Act is due to expire on December 31st, and last week the (US) House Judiciary Committee approved its variation of the Act (Satellite Television Community Protection and Promotion Act of 2019) which allows for truck-drivers, RV-owners and other potential viewers on the move to receive TV signals from a ‘distant’ supplier.

However, the new rules do not officially permit the near-1 million rural homes to receive distant signals that originate outside their regions.

The Committee said that the original Act was introduced back in 1988 and must therefore consider its mission was accomplished.

This decision has to be voted on by the Senate, but also under consideration is a near-automatic renewal of the core Act. Key to the overall strategy is coverage of the USA’s 201 separate broadcasting markets. DirecTV does not supply DTH signals to about a dozen of the very smallest of these markets. Echostar’s Dish does supply these small markets.

The need is for homes in these rural regions to receive at least the 4 main TV networks. If one of the main networks (NBC, CBS, ABC or Fox) is missing and cannot be received terrestrially then there is a need for ‘distant’ reception to be allowed.

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