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Board Narrows SBCA’s Focus

Alexandria, Va. — The Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association’s (SBCA) board has voted to scale back the organization’s mission to focus on dealer training and education, while dropping lobbying efforts and special events, such as its SkyFORUM conferences.

As a result, the association is expected to lay off more than half of its staff, according to association members. SBCA’s president Richard DalBello will also leave the organization.

The move comes as the satellite television industry has consolidated into an industry largely run by two remaining satellite service providers — DirecTV and EchoStar Communications.

Those organizations, which are strong competitors with each other, have found it harder to cooperate on governmental issues in Washington. The two companies will each maintain their own lobbying offices in Washington.

The SBCA’s new mission, which at press time was still being fully developed, will focus on its ongoing education and training programs for satellite retailers and installers. The mission will also encompass the SBCA’s National Standards and Testing Program (NSTP) certification effort, addressing some local issues and creating competition reports.

The NSTP was started in 2001 and has been used to train over 45,000 residential and commercial installers.

“Although its overall mission will change, the SBCA’s level of commitment to this industry and hard work on its behalf will not,” said Tom Hayden, SBCA’s chairman, in a statement announcing the move. “We look forward to the staff’s continued efforts on the education front and know that the SBCA’s concentration in this area will take education in the satellite consumer services industry to the next level.”

DirecTV and EchoStar said through a joint statement that they support the decision of the SBCA board and vowed to “continue to work together on regulatory and legislative issues of importance on a local, state and national level.”