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SBCA Applauds Senate Commerce Committee for Passage of Pro-Consumer Satellite Legislation

Alexandria, Va., July 22, 2004 – The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association (SBCA) today applauded the Senate Commerce Committee for their passage this morning of the “Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Rural Consumer Access to Digital Television Act of 2004.” The legislation was drafted and introduced by Senator John Ensign (R-NV).

The “Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Rural Consumer Access to Digital Television Act of 2004” was the final of four versions of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act introduced and marked-up by the congressional committees with jurisdiction over the consumer satellite industry. This legislation must be reauthorized this year before many of the satellite industry’s compulsory licenses expire. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Judiciary Committee, and the Senate Judiciary Committee have already passed their versions of the legislation and it is now ready for a full vote on both the House and Senate floors.

“The satellite industry commends Sen. Ensign and the entire Senate Commerce Committee for their hard work and commitment to passing this critical legislation,” said Richard DalBello, president SBCA. “The ‘Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Rural Consumer Access to Digital Television Act of 2004’ ensures that all consumers—regardless of where they live—have access to digital and high definition signals.”

The legislation includes language that would allow satellite providers to offer a distant digital or HD signal to areas currently digitally un-served by local broadcasters, or “digital white areas.” By allowing satellite platforms to provide a distant digital signal Congress is not only ensuring that all consumers have access to a digital quality signal, but also helping speed along the digital transition in the United States.

The digital transition refers to a congressionally mandated transition where 85 percent of US television households can receive a digital signal. Once this transition is complete, the analog spectrum - worth billions of dollars - can be returned to the US government and auctioned off or given to public service entities such as police and fire departments to enhance their communications systems.

“It was critical that the Senate Commerce Committee pass this legislation and their work today is testimony of Congress’ commitment to increase DBS’ competitive capabilities and ability offer a choice for all Americans, especially those in rural areas,” continued 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