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Training & Certification of Installers and Technicians is Industry’s Top Priority

Alexandria, Va., April 2, 2003 – The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association today announced that more than 20,000 satellite system installation technicians have been trained and tested through the industry’s National Standards and Testing Program (NSTP). Of the 20,000 trained since the program's inception in August 2001, more than 16,500 have passed standardized testing with a minimum 85 percent to achieve certification through the SBCA program, a pass rate of 82.8 percent.

SBCA Chairman of the Board and DIRECTV Chairman and CEO Eddy W. Hartenstein remarked on the achievement saying that, “The success of this program is a reflection of the industry's commitment to maintaining its high level of customer service and satisfaction. We continuously raise the bar on our testing and certification programs to ensure that satellite TV customers receive an unparalleled television viewing experience. ”

SBCA’s NSTP program is designed to serve as a self-regulating program which will allow the industry to retain its edge in customer satisfaction and service. NSTP certifies that installers have passed standardized testing developed by the SBCA and industry leaders. Certification is good for a period of two years. Currently residential installation certification exams are available in English or Spanish. Successful certification candidates must score an 85 percent or better.

Several satellite companies have mandated NSTP certification for their contractors, subcontractors and installation force including, DIRECTV, which required certification for its contractors in June 2002; Pegasus, whose installation force had to complete their testing by May 31, 2002; and, EchoStar, who required that all its subcontractors be certified by March 31, 2003.

"Our next goal is to reach the independent contractors that aren't directly associated with DIRECTV, EchoStar, Pegasus or the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative," said Ray Edwards, Chairman of the SBCA Training Standards Committee.

“Satellite’s most important advantage over cable is that customers know that satellite television providers deliver better value, a better product, and better customer service,” SBCA President Andy Wright said. “NSTP helps us maintain that edge. That’s good not only for consumers, but also for all SBCA members.”

Satellite retailers and technicians have many opportunities every month to take advantage of the SBCA training which is offered throughout the country by more than 200 SBCA certified trainers.

SBCA Retail Council Chairman Jim Stephen said, “The 20,000 milestone for the program is an important step towards achieving the goals of the SBCA. Thanks to the hard work of SBCA member companies, the Retail Council, and SBCA staff, this program will help ensure the success of this industry and the satellite retail business through improved customer satisfaction.” Stephen is President of INTERTECH Digital Entertainment Inc., an EchoStar Retailer & Regional Service Provider based in suburban Buffalo, NY.

In addition to DIRECTV and EchoStar, companies agreeing to the NSTP installation standards and  participating in the certification program currently include: All Systems Distributing, Apex Digital, Circuit City, CVS Systems, Dow Electronics, Installs Inc., JVI, Metron North America, Mid-State Distributing, the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, O’Rourke Bros., Perfect-10, Pegasus Communications, Radio Shack Installation Services, Saturn Distributing and numerous independent retailers.

Additional information about NSTP is available at or by calling (800) 541-5981.

The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association 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, audio, data, music, voice, interactive, and broadband services.  The SBCA is composed of DBS, C-band, broadband, satellite radio, and other satellite service providers, content providers, equipment manufacturers, distributors, retailers, encryption vendors, and national and regional distribution companies that make up the satellite services industry. Additional information can be found at