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RETRANSMISSION CONSENT FAILS AGAIN

Alexandria, VA, May 30, 2000 -- In response to EchoStar Communications Corporation's DISH Network being forced to shut off four local broadcast channels, the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association (SBCA) issued the following statement:

"The requirement that DISH network turn off the local television signals of thousands of Americans shows clearly that retransmission consent isn't working in the marketplace to the benefit of consumers," said SBCA President Chuck Hewitt today. "For the second time in less than a month consumers have lost local broadcast signals because of the unfair advantage given broadcasters under the law. It is a shame that the laws governing retransmission consent fail to take into consideration the viewing needs of consumers in their local broadcast service areas, giving them little choice but to suffer loss of local TV service."

Hewitt added, "Retransmission consent puts consumers at the mercy of the television stations. The must-carry rules for DBS providers disadvantage consumers further by mandating the carriage of all signals in a particular market, no matter how few viewers there are for a particular broadcast signal," he said. "That, in turn, deprives hundreds of thousands of consumers in other markets from receiving the local television stations that are so important to them."

DBS providers must comply with full must-carry provisions by January 1, 2002, requiring them to carry every station in every market where they offer local-into-local service. That will force them to utilize channel capacity to carry even those stations that have only a limited viewing audience, all at the expense of other markets where local-into-local service won't be offered at all because of satellite capacity limitations caused by full must-carry.

"Many other markets will not have local signals available by DBS simply because of the inflexibility of the must-carry rules," stated Hewitt. "The current must-carry regime will create have's and have-not's in the video marketplace. Any way you look at it, consumers lose and broadcasters win. We don't believe that's what Congress had in mind."

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

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