- Chairman's Message
- Digital TV Transition Less Than Year Away, Are You Prepared?
- Membership Updates
- Highlighted Benefit - SBCA Savings Program
- Member Spotlight - Sonora Design
- Education Updates
- Message to Retailers
One of the most significant issues that the satellite industry faces is in the state licensing arena. The SBCA made significant inroads to address these issues in 2007 and has now identified all of the states that currently have low voltage requirements that affect our industry. In addition the SBCA is actively tracking pending legislation and working with these states to help them understand the full impact of this type of legislation and to encourage them to adopt mutually acceptable alternatives. Our retailers and installation provider members have worked closely with us in this effort, and in some cases, have represented the industry on state committees. We will continue to work with our member companies to help ensure future state legislation is not overly burdensome or detrimental to our industry as a whole.
Our educational efforts continue to be an area of significant focus for the SBCA. The SBCA Residential course has been integrated by Rhode Island and Connecticut into their state licensing exams. We will be working with additional states in the future, encouraging them to recognize the SBCA certification course or alternatively, adopting it as a part of their licensing requirements.
This past year the SBCA expanded its focus to the MDU and SMATV marketplace. This is one of the fastest growing business sectors in the satellite industry. This area offers significant growth opportunities for savvy retailers. Since this market requires a more sophisticated and highly trained workforce, the Association along with members of our Education Working Group updated the existing commercial course which is now called MDU/SMATV Essentials. In addition, a new training course was developed to address the MFH single wire solution for MDU properties. There are a number of other new programs under development that are designed to further benefit this industry segment.
All of these initiatives would not have been successful without the support of our member companies. Every member is important to the SBCA. We are very focused on continuing to find ways to enhance our array of benefits and help our members get the training they need to grow their businesses. One of the key goals of the Association in the coming year is to broaden our membership base as this will strengthen our Association and allow the SBCA to effectively address more of the issues facing our industry today.
Finally, we will be working with other organizations to offer new business opportunities to our member companies. We hope that you will find these programs beneficial. We look forward to working with you going forward. If you have a suggestion of a member benefit or opportunity that you would like us to offer, feel free to contact Martin Esteves, our Membership Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Davidson, DIRECTV
Digital TV Transition Less Than Year Away, Are You Prepared?
The digital TV (DTV) transition is less than a year away – are your customers prepared? The switch from traditional analog TV to digital TV will occur on February 17, 2009. It is estimated that approximately 33.6 million, or 12 percent, of people in the United States watch television via an over-the-air signal only. For many individuals, the television is the primary source of news, weather, emergency and other public safety information in their local communities. Individuals who do not take the appropriate measures to ensure that their analog televisions are capable of receiving digital TV signals after February 17, 2009 may be at risk of losing access to important public safety notifications.
Satellite subscribers are at less of a risk of being affected by the DTV transition. However, untethered TV sets will be affected. For untethered TV sets to not be affected by the transition, the customer will need to connect the set to the existing satellite service, obtain a TV set capable of receiving DTV programming or obtain a digital-to-analog converter box.
Beginning January 1, 2008, U.S. households can request up to two coupons valued at $40 each to be used toward the purchase of a single set-top converter box. The converter boxes will be available in retail stores during the transition and are expected to cost between $40 – 70.
For information on the converter box program, please visit www.dtv2009.gov.
Since early last year, the SBCA has been a member of the DTV transition coalition, a nationwide group dedicated to educating consumers and retailers on this issue.
Over the past year SBCA has continued to grow with the announcement of new members such as Advanced Media Technologies, B2B TV, Sonora Design, Stirling Connectors and others. As SBCA expands we are constantly making changes to our membership and benefits to better suit your needs. Be sure to check the members only portion of the SBCA website to take advantage of all the benefits offered to our members such as the SBCA Tech Connect Job Board, SBCA Savings Program, Licensing Database and others. Below you will find some information on our SBCA Savings program and one of our newest members, Sonora Design.
Highlighted Benefit - SBCA Savings Program
SBCA assists members with cost savings.
Most companies search for ways to improve the financial health of their businesses. They have pulled the obvious levers: slashing payroll, consolidating suppliers of direct materials, and streamlining processes. Executives should also be expanding their cost containment focus to indirect costs-expenses such as office supplies, computer equipment, express delivery, telecommunications, etc. Companies have traditionally neglected these lower-cost, high-volume purchases when looking for ways to save money.
There are tremendous savings that could be realized if you really focus on the areas that would otherwise be taken for granted.
Joining SBCA's Member Savings Program is one way to focus on these savings opportunities without a large investment of time. The RFP's and research have already been done by our program administrator (The Buying Group). Their collective Buying Power enables SBCA Members to obtain National Pricing as well as value added services normally reserved for very large companies. Savings will range by product or service and typically range from 15- 45%. A complete listing of services can be found at www.SBCAsavings.com.
As a SBCA Member, there is no cost to join. You may sign up and start saving immediately by going to www.SBCAsavings.com.
One example of the savings opportunity is in your inbound/outbound shipping expenses:
SBCA SAVINGS, in partnership with MESCA Freight Services, has negotiated extremely deeply discounted freight (LTL) rates (75% discount) on shipments ranging from 100-10,000 pounds.
Right now SBCA SAVINGS members can take advantage of a 75% discount off current rates from the following national carriers:
· Yellow Transportation
· Roadway Express
· Fed Ex National
· UPS Freight
· A. Duie Pyle Trucking
· New Penn Motor Express
· And other Regional Carriers.
To join this program simply go to www.thebuyinggroup.com/sbcafreight, print / fill out the authorization form and fax back to 207.623.4978. This gives MESCA the authority to put the rates in place for your company with the carriers. This form is NOT a contract and is cancelable by email.
Contact MESCA's Jim Gunning at 207.592.9027 for more information and tell him you are a SBCA member.
Member Spotlight - Sonora Design
Sonora Design Associates design and manufacture coaxial networking products for digital televisions signals. Products operating in the 2 MHz to 2400 MHz band allow DIRECTV, DISH and local broadcast ATSC signals to be be shared by multiple displays in custom homes, apartment buildings and commercial properties. Sonora specializes in automatic gain and frequency multiplexing products that simplify design and installation.
Sonora Design is dedicated to providing technicians with the most up to date training and product information. In addition to participation in the SBCA certification programs they have developed some interactive training programs which are available on their website, www.sonoradesign.com.
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The SBCA’s has been expanding its education programs over the last year. We currently offer certification courses for Residential, MDU/SMATV and DIRECTV’s MFH single wire distribution. In the coming year we will also be developing a number of courses designed to expand the knowledge base of our technicians. There will be both on line and classroom courses depending on the need for hands on activities. In addition to our certification efforts we are also in the process of developing additional educational resources for our members. These will be interactive programs focusing on technical tips, consumer education, licensing and other issues that may affect your business. We have recently posted a couple of these on our web site under New at SBCA. In addition, we are working on a program to provide technical updates directly to our commercial and MFH certified technicians. We are working with our members to identify the types of courses and programs that would be of the most benefit and would welcome your input of what we should offer.
Message to Retailers
SBCA has many valuable resources for the Satellite retailer to tap. First, the education and certification programs, no matter if you are new to the satellite installation business or have been involved for 20 years, SBCA can help you add extra value to your business. Other training segments focusing on Residential, MDU/SMATV or MFH2/MFH3 advanced signal distribution and will carry your business into the next decade. In addition the SBCA is developing on line training and technical tips designed to provide continuous education to its members. Membership does have its privileges, use your educational discounts to keep yourself and your staff trained to keep up with this ever changing industry. Also participation in The Buying Group will offer a cost savings to the operations side of your business. Membership to this organization is free for all SBCA member companies.
Additionally, the SBCA gives you access to a tremendous legal resource. How are zoning or low voltage regulations affecting your business? State by State certain restrictions are encroaching on the satellite TV retailers business. Low voltage rulings in certain municipalities are requiring satellite retailers to obtain a low voltage license similar to the restrictions and stringent approval process put upon electrical contractors. The average retailer will find the cost of obtaining a license and keeping up with the renewal of that license oppressive. While many may contest this is a move for local municipalities to line their coffers, the SBCA continues to stand united in offering support to the local satellite retailer faced with these issues. Additionally dealers with a field force in place will no doubt see an amortized savings in operational expenses in the tens of thousands as long as these rulings are kept at bay. The SBCA also is the industry resource for addressing issues related to permits and restrictions that are covered under the OTARD statute. The SBCA works with its retail members to address every OTARD issue and ensure that your consumers know their rights when it comes to installing a satellite system. The SBCA is an un-tapped resource for Satellite TV retailers nationwide faced with this impending legislation. The SBCA’s legal resources are ready to support your fight on a local level, that type of support is included in your SBCA retailer membership and would cost you thousands if you had to go it alone. Can you afford to pass that up at such a minimal cost of membership?
SBCA will have a presence at both the DIRECTV and DISH NETWORK upcoming retailer events in the spring, plan on attending to find out more about how you can get more for your money as a member of the SBCA. Find out more today about the training schedule, additional membership benefits or licensing for your area check out www.sbca.org. Thank you and best of luck in your business this year.
SBCA Retail Council Chairman