Satellite Happy with Carriage Rules

The companies impacted by the Federal Communications Commission order governing delivery of local broadcast networks said they are happy with the final set of mandates.

Prior to adoption of the item by commissioners, DIRECTV and DISH Network approached FCC staff with suggestions that included carriage of local HD stations through a phased-in approach. Under mandates approved by the FCC, the companies got a four-year phased-in process.

DIRECTV applauded the FCC "for adopting a reasonable schedule for implementation of an HD carry one, carry all requirement." The company added, "The FCC strikes an appropriate balance to reach its public policy goals, while recognizing satellite's unique infrastructure and capacity challenges."

In a statement, DISH Network said because of differences in technology between cable and satellite, "the added burden of an HD obligation disproportionately impacts the DBS industry. By adopting a 2013 deadline, the FCC has ensured that a new regulatory obligation does not harm DBS efforts to provide a smooth digital transition to over 30 million satellite TV households in 2009," the company sai.

DISH pointed out that it already provides locals in 174 out of 210 markets. Most of the remaining local markets are missing one or more of the big four broadcast affiliates, "and broadcasters are opposed to granting satellite providers the right to bring in the missing stations, thus making service to additional local markets uneconomical," the company said.

DISH added that it looks forward to working with broadcasters and Congress "to address this issue, so that more Americans in rural areas can enjoy their local stations."