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DISH Formally Asks to Get Back into Distant-Signal Business

The FCC has received
DISH Network's request to start delivering distant network-affiliated TV
station signals.

As part of STELA, the
legislation reathorizing the blanket copyright license covering that
distant-signal importation, DISH was allowed to re-enter that business subject
to delivering local TV signals into the remaining dozen-and-a-half markets that
did not get them.

According to the FCC,
DISH has affirmed that it has initiated service in all 210 markets per a
voluntary agreement.

DISH had been barred by
a court from the distant signal business after a finding that it was not
accurately identifying what subscribers were not receiving a viewable signal
from a local affiliate, and thus qualitified for receiving a comparable network
affiliate imported from a different market.

The commission did not
immediately give DISH the green light. STELA requires a 30-day comment period
on DISH's request to become a certified distant-signal carrier, but also says
the FCC has 90 days to either grant or deny the request.

In that time, the FCC
says before it grants a waiver of the injunction, it must confirm that DISH is
actually delivering the local signals to at least 90% of the households in each
market.

Comments are due July
20; replies July 30.

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.