Compromise STELAR Draws Praise

The bipartisan, bicameral compromise Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) Act (who says there are no second acts in politics) being introduced in the House has drawing praise from various quarters.

B&C/Multireported Nov. 17 that the bill was being introduced Tuesday by key congressional leaders and that it was a combination of elements from House and Senate versions of the reauthorization of the compulsory satellite license, which expires every five years. That reauthorization must pass by year's end or 1.5 million satellite customers would lose access to distant network TV station signals and the FCC would lose the authority to enforce good faith retransmission consent negotiations.

Dish and DirecTV, whose 1.5 million customers would be losing their signals, thanked all the legislators who got together on the bill, which it says "makes important reforms to the outdated laws governing today’s video marketplace, while ensuring continuity of service to more than 1.5 million distant signal subscribers who would, otherwise, lose service at the end of this year," adding: "We look forward to working with Congressional leadership to see this reauthorization swiftly passed into law. We also look forward to continuing the important discussion regarding retransmission onsent reform, and in particular protecting consumers from local channel blackouts.”

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John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.