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SBCA: ENERGY & COMMERCE BILL OFFERS LITTLE TO SATELLITE INDUSTRY, CONSUMERS

Alexandria, Va., April 28, 2004 – The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association reacted to today’s House Energy and Commerce Committee mark-up of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act, or SHVERA, with the following statement:

“This bill has a lot to offer the broadcasters but very little for consumers and the satellite industry,” said DalBello. “It seems to me that Congress is missing a great opportunity to expand consumer choice and increase competition.”

SBCA is especially concerned with the committee’s removal of a grandfather clause which currently allows some consumers to receive distant network signals. Distant network signals are offered by the satellite industry for consumers unable to access local channels over the air.

Also disappointing to SBCA was the subcommittee’s reluctance to endorse a satellite industry proposal to allow satellite carriers to offer a high-definition distant network signal to viewers currently unserved by their local broadcaster with a digital signal. SBCA feels this proposal would greatly accelerate the national transition to digital broadcasting. However, SBCA was encouraged by the support expressed by some subcommittee members for the role that satellites could play in providing HD and digital services to consumers who live in these “digital white areas.”  

“The subcommittee took an important first step today. I hope as we move from the subcommittee to the full committee, discussion on the proposal to allow satellite carriers to offer an HD distant signal to digitally-unserved customers will continue to move forward,” said DalBello.

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, 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 www.sbca.com.