Public Knowledge on STAVRA: Drop Set-Top Language Or Bill

Now that the election is over and the Lame Duck Congress can turn to passage of must-pass satellite television reauthorization legislation (STAVRA), Public Knowledge is turning to all 100 senators asking them to fix forget it.

The "fix" would be to either jettison the part of the bill, backed and pushed by cable operators, that would eliminate the FCC's requirement that the surfing and security functions of set-tops be integrated (with the CableCARD hardware solution). The goal was to spur a robust retail set-top market, which everybody agrees hasn't happened.

The bill reauthorizing the satellite compulsory license expires Dec. 31 if it is not renewed by then, and Public Knowledge is advising the Senators to let it expire unless the set-top provision is either jettisoned, or modified along the lines of an amendment pushed by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) in the Senate Commerce Committee. The bill has already passed out of committee with Markey agreeing not to introduce the amendment.

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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.