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April 2007 Newsletter

SBCA Joins the DTV Transition Coalition
SBCA Makes the Expo Circuit
Legislative Update

The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association has joined the Digital Television (DTV) Transition Coalition.  The coalition is spearheaded by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and is comprised of business, trade, and industry groups as well as grassroots and membership organizations.  

On February 17, 2009, network broadcasting signals will switch from analog to digital.  Television sets that receive broadcast signals through an over-the-air antenna will need a digital converter to continue to receive signals.  The switch is being made in order to free airwaves so America's first responders will have more ways to communicate with each other during an emergency.

The core mission of the coalition is to educate the American public about the scheduled switch.  Television sets that receive broadcast signals via satellite or cable signal will not be affected.  According to a NAB focus group poll, roughly 17% of the American public do not subscribe to cable or satellite.

The coalition is encouraging consumers to seek solutions to prepare for the transition.  The government has set aside 1.5 billion dollars in vouchers to help consumers purchase converter boxes that will convert the digital signal for analog-only television sets.

Consumers can also subscribe to cable or satellite service to receive a digital signal. Of the aforementioned 17%, the NAB focus group poll predicts roughly 14% will opt to subscribe to satellite or cable television as a solution.

 For more information on this issue please visit

SBCA Makes the Expo Circuit
With each year, Spring marks the beginning of the satellite expo circuit.  New to the fold this year was DIRECTV. The SBCA Regulatory Affairs Department attended the DIRECTV’s Dealer Revolution Convention, a show aimed at educating their independent retailer base.
In mid-April, the SBCA will be attending the Satellite Broadband Expo (SBE) where exhibitors will be representing all aspects of the telecommunications industry. Noah Cuttler, Director of Regulatory Affairs, will be giving a seminar on Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule (OTARD) at this years SBE.

Legislative Update
The SBCA continues to closely monitor several states that have introduced licensing legislation.Pennsylvania, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Vermont are still reviewing legislation that would create new electricians licensing schemes.  Legislation introduced in Wyoming that would have cleared up the exemption issue for satellite technicians died in committee.

The SBCA has also been very active in Connecticut.  Currently, two bills are making their way through the state house.  The first, and supported by the SBCA, would clear up the process for Connecticut to make reciprocity agreements with other states.  The second bill would require satellite providers to register an employee with Department of Consumer Protection to handle customer service matters.  The SBCA has voiced their opposition to this bill and is monitoring it closely.

Finally, The Philadelphia City Council has dropped their attempt to pass a city-wide electricians licensing scheme.  The legislation faced heavy opposition from the telecommunications community for being too broad.

Simple Facts About OTARD

The OTARD ruling, adopted by the FCC in 1996, the rule has gone through several amendments.
- Oct 1996 -
OTARD has been in affect.

- Jan 1999 -
The Commission amended the rule so that it also applied to rental property where the renter has an exclusive use area, such as a balcony or patio.

- Oct 2000 -
The Commission further amended the rule so that it applies to customer-end antennas that receive and transmit fixed wireless signals; in effect as of May 25, 2001.

Fun Fact About Washington, DC

Arlington Memorial Bridge symbolically links the North and South in its alignment between the Lincoln Memorial and Arlington House, which is also the Robert E. Lee Memorial.

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