STELA Act to expire

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The controversial US Satellite Television Extension & Localism Act (STELA) will come to an end on December 31st.

Two new Bills will replace it: The Television Viewer Protection Act (TVPA) which makes the “good faith” supply of distant signals permanent, and the Satellite Television Community Protection & Promotion Act.

However, it is not totally clear as to how extensive the new Acts will be in practice. For example, a recent blog-post from a senior executive at AT&T said the dropping of STELA could leave hundreds of thousands of rural and isolated viewers without TV. AT&T owns DirecTV which currently does not provide network signals into about a dozen markets, but is expected to do so ahead of a May 31st deadline.

The generally accepted number of homes using the STELA provisions to access distant (out of market) TV signals is about 870,000. But this is said to include long-distant truckers and similar users with RVs.


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