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SBCA Blasts Proposed Satellite TV Bill

4/28/2004 03:12:00 PM Eastern

Alexandria, Va. — The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association said the recent markup of a proposed Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act (SHVERA) by the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hurt the satellite TV industry.

"This bill has a lot to offer the broadcasters but very little for consumers and the satellite industry," said new SBCA president Richard DalBello. "It seems to me that Congress is missing a great opportunity to expand consumer choice and increase competition."

The SBCA said it is especially concerned with the committee’s removal of a grandfather clause that currently allows some consumers to receive distant network signals. Distant network signals are offered by the satellite industry for consumers unable to access local channels over the air.

The association also objected to the subcommittee’s failure to endorse a satellite industry proposal to allow satellite carriers to offer a high-definition distant network signal to viewers currently not served by their local broadcaster with a digital signal.

"The SBCA feels this proposal would greatly accelerate the national transition to digital broadcasting," according to an SBCA statement.

The group said it was encouraged by the support expressed by some subcommittee members for the role that satellites could play in providing HD and digital services to consumers who live in these "digital white areas."

"The subcommittee took an important first step today. I hope as we move from the subcommittee to the full committee, discussion on the proposal to allow satellite carriers to offer an HD distant signal to digitally-unserved customers will continue to move forward," said DalBello.

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