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ALEXANDRIA, VA, August 7, 2001 – The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association (SBCA) announced today that the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA, has set September 25, 2001, as the date for oral arguments in the SBCA, DIRECTV Inc., and EchoStar Communications Corp., consolidated appeal of the Federal District Court decision and the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Report and Order on the implementation of satellite must-carry rules.  Arguments will begin at 9:00 a.m.

“The deadline for implementing satellite must carry is quickly approaching.  It is imperative that we have the opportunity to make our constitutional arguments and for the Court to render a decision before that time,” said SBCA Acting-President Andy Wright.  “We are pleased that the 4th Circuit has recognized the need for an expedited hearing on this matter and has scheduled arguments so that there is time to resolve this issue prior to the January 1, 2002 deadline.  The forced carriage requirement reduces competition to cable by depriving millions of consumers of the opportunity to receive local news, weather and sports via satellite.  We are determined to continue to fight for these consumers and we remain confident that we will prevail in this case on the merits of our arguments.”

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, voice, and interactive and broadband services.  The SBCA is composed of DBS, broadband, and other satellite service providers, programmers, equipment manufacturers, distributors, retailers, encryption vendors, and national and regional distribution companies.