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--Home Dish Sales Make Strong Gains in ’98 to Reach 10 Percent of TV Households;
Satellite Still Needs Level Playing Field for Head-to-Head Competition with Cable--

ALEXANDRIA, VA, DECEMBER 18, 1998 – Charles C. Hewitt, president of the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association (SBCA), issued the following statement today in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s annual report on cable competition:
"We are certainly pleased with the tremendous subscriber gains the Direct-to-Home satellite industry has made in 1998. We now serve more than 10 million Americans and reach 10 percent of TV households. But this report is one on the state of competition in the cable industry. For competition to truly exist in the multichannel video marketplace, Congress must act to ensure that satellite and other service providers have access to the same playing field and opportunities as the dominant cable industry. The satellite industry will continue to seek Congressional support for: (1) resolution of the white area/ network signal issue, (2) reduction of unequal copyright rates set by the Copyright Arbitration Rate Panel (CARP) which have the satellite industry paying significantly more than cable for similar programming services, (3) removal of the 90-day waiting period that delays consumers wanting to switch video providers, and (4) license to deliver local-into-local network programming. Removing these marketplace barriers will go a long way to helping DTH achieve a more competitive footing with cable."

The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association of America (SBCA) is the national trade organization representing all segments of the home satellite industry. It is committed to expanding the utilization of satellite technology for the broadcast delivery of entertainment, news, information and educational programming. The SBCA is composed of DBS service providers, programmers, equipment manufacturers, distributors, retailers, encryption vendors, and national and regional distribution companies.