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Dish thanks Congress for passing STELA


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#1 OFFLINE   FTA Michael

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 10:40 AM

Dish Network sent out a one-sentence statement in a press release this morning.

"DISH Network congratulates Congress on passing the landmark Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (STELA), clearing the way for DISH Network to become the first pay-TV provider to make local broadcast stations available in every television market in the United States."

Sounds like STELA finally, really, completely passed, but I can't find anything else about that news yet. Daily Kos says it was scheduled for something today, but THOMAS hasn't updated its status since yesterday's "Held at the desk." (What's that?)
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#2 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 11:02 AM

Sounds like STELA finally, really, completely passed, but I can't find anything else about that news yet. Daily Kos says it was scheduled for something today, but THOMAS hasn't updated its status since yesterday's "Held at the desk." (What's that?)

"Held at the desk" is normally what happens to the bill before it is sent off to the appropriate committee to be handled. Legislation dies every session because it is never assigned to a committee.

It doesn't sound right for a "finally, completely passed" bill.

Thomas shows H.R.4213 as related ... perhaps they still need to conference the bill?

#3 OFFLINE   FTA Michael

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 01:00 PM

Here's your confirmation from John Eggerton: http://www.multichan...asses_STELA.php

"The reauthorization also resolves the so-called phantom-signal issue, in which cable operators were paying for subs they were not delivering signals to. It also revises the language to reflect the transition to digital.

But the bill sidestepped hot-button issues like retransmission consent reform, split DMAs, and even the continued existence of a blanket license, by calling for studies of those issues."

The article suggests that STELA might be for five years after all, but it didn't sound certain to me. Go read it and see what you think.
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#4 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 01:30 PM

The political move of "suspension" is what threw me (us?) off.
I'll have to read it ... now we know what "it" is.

#5 OFFLINE   BobaBird

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 04:45 PM

How was Dish being prevented, in a legislative or regulatory sense, from carrying locals in all markets prior to STELA?
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#6 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 05:09 PM

How was Dish being prevented, in a legislative or regulatory sense, from carrying locals in all markets prior to STELA?

There was no prohibition on carrying all markets. The major stumbling block is the cost effectiveness.

DISH could try selling a one local market (such as Lafayette, Indiana, with only a CBS affiliate) for $5. But who would buy it without the other network affiliates. So what do they do, sell the market for $1? How does that cover the cost of backhauling the signal (and paying for carriage rights, if demanded)?

Under STELA DISH will be able to sell that market for $5 and include channels from Indianapolis or Terre Haute (as significantly viewed distant channels ... no waivers required). The cost of uplink is covered by the carriage those stations already have in their home market. DISH can invest the majority of the fee in capturing that one elusive CBS signal.

Yes, DISH could have legally "covered all markets" under the existing LIL laws ... to the extent of only being able to carry local stations in their local markets. This law makes it cost effective to finish the job.

#7 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 06:17 PM

Dish has carried the Monterey-Salinas market in HD for approximately two years, even though that market is short. It contains no ABC station. Dish gave a $1 discount on the locals package in that market. Anyone who wanted to add ABC had to go through AAD. Dish has carried the locals in SD in that market for many years.

There really was no reason for Dish to not carry the locals in any short market, but Dish sold the idea to Congress that it could not carry the locals unless it was allowed back into the distant network business. Congress bought it, thinking that this is the easiest way to get local into local service established in all markets nationwide.

Direct still does not carry any locals in HD in Monterey-Salinas. Dish, even under the injunction, has done far more for local into local coverage than Direct.

#8 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 07:37 PM

DISH was ahead before the injunction as well ... DirecTV was dealing with increasingly complex spot beam satellites to use their DBS bandwidth and DISH used a two dish solution until Congress blocked that. Now DISH is using increasingly complex spot beam satellites.

I believe DISH followed that path because they understand that people want their local channels. It can be the difference between a sale and a pass. DISH pushed for network coverage from the first day of DBS and their actions led to the lawsuit that caused Congress to write the first local/distant coverage laws.

I'm looking forward to 100% LIL coverage.

#9 OFFLINE   joblo

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 02:55 AM

Under STELA DISH will be able to sell that market for $5 and include channels from Indianapolis or Terre Haute (as significantly viewed distant channels ... no waivers required).

STELA moves the significantly viewed provisions from the distant to the local statutory license.

Short markets, however, will be served under the distant license, because the definition of “unserved household” is changed such that a household can only be “served” by signals from within the DMA. Thus, short markets are now entirely “unserved” by definition, even if a strong signal from a neighboring DMA blankets the whole thing. This is what will allow distant stations of missing nets to added to local packages, whether the “distant” station is significantly viewed or not.


Dish has carried the Monterey-Salinas market in HD for approximately two years, even though that market is short. It contains no ABC station. Dish gave a $1 discount on the locals package in that market. Anyone who wanted to add ABC had to go through AAD.

But under the old law, households within the Monterey-Salinas market that could receive an out-of-market ABC over the air, from say, San Francisco, would not have qualified for AAD service without a waiver, even though AAD provided that DNS from San Francisco itself. Now ALL Monterey-Salinas households will be considered “unserved” by ABC, so either AAD or Dish will be able to provide any distant ABC to all of them, no waivers required.

#10 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 07:26 AM

STELA moves the significantly viewed provisions from the distant to the local statutory license.

A good move.

Short markets, however, will be served under the distant license, because the definition of “unserved household” is changed such that a household can only be “served” by signals from within the DMA. Thus, short markets are now entirely “unserved” by definition, even if a strong signal from a neighboring DMA blankets the whole thing. This is what will allow distant stations of missing nets to added to local packages, whether the “distant” station is significantly viewed or not.

So is this changing waivers? The difference between carrying a SV and a distant under current (pre STELA) law into an area where that network has OTA coverage is the waiver. Distants require a waiver from any local station (even an out of market local) of that network with coverage. SVs do not. SVs can also be carried into a market with an in market station of the same network. Distants cannot. Is this being relaxed to the point where distants are just as easy to carry as SVs?


But under the old law, households within the Monterey-Salinas market that could receive an out-of-market ABC over the air, from say, San Francisco, would not have qualified for AAD service without a waiver, even though AAD provided that DNS from San Francisco itself. Now ALL Monterey-Salinas households will be considered “unserved” by ABC, so either AAD or Dish will be able to provide any distant ABC to all of them, no waivers required.

So the OTA / white area / waiver system is gone?

#11 OFFLINE   joblo

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 03:32 PM

The way I read it, yes, no, and no.

Yes, in the sense that it will change the areas where waivers are required, but no, it will definitely not put distants on a par with SVs, nor will it eliminate the white area / waiver system.

The change, long overdue imo, is that you will no longer need waivers from out of market stations, just those in your own DMA, so no longer will a station that satellite cannot deliver to you under the LIL license be able to block your access to a distant signal of that network from elsewhere.

And I agree, moving SV to the LIL license was a good change. They also moved low power, in-state, special state, and special county provisions to the LIL license. I only looked it over briefly, but it looks like LP stations can now be delivered to the entire DMA under statutory LIL, whereas I think before they were considered distant outside the predicted contour.

#12 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 08:52 PM

The change, long overdue imo, is that you will no longer need waivers from out of market stations, just those in your own DMA, so no longer will a station that satellite cannot deliver to you under the LIL license be able to block your access to a distant signal of that network from elsewhere.

And I agree, moving SV to the LIL license was a good change.

With SVs moved to LIL would that make the SV station a local that could block a distant or does it remain out of market for the sake of waivers?

I only looked it over briefly, but it looks like LP stations can now be delivered to the entire DMA under statutory LIL, whereas I think before they were considered distant outside the predicted contour.

The old (current) rule was for a radius around the tower ... not even the predicted contour. Stations could have directional or better coverage than that radius yet the radius is the rule. I don't believe being outside of the radius made the station a distant ... only that within that radius no permission was needed and outside that radius the LP could not be carried without permission. It has been over five years since I paid attention to the rule.

#13 OFFLINE   joblo

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 04:19 PM

With SVs moved to LIL would that make the SV station a local that could block a distant or does it remain out of market for the sake of waivers?

Moving the SV and other special case stations from section 119 to section 122 does not change any station’s local/distant status. (There are many local SV stations, but those are included in the carry-one/carry-all mandate for locals, so the special provisions are moot.)

The change simply groups all stations generally offered in local packages under one section/license, so as to belatedly rectify the unintended consequence that Dish lost its ability to transmit those local package stations because its Section 119 violations.

The old (current) rule was for a radius around the tower ... not even the predicted contour. Stations could have directional or better coverage than that radius yet the radius is the rule. I don't believe being outside of the radius made the station a distant ... only that within that radius no permission was needed and outside that radius the LP could not be carried without permission. It has been over five years since I paid attention to the rule.

Yeah, I remembered that radius business after I posted previously.

But the distinction was (is) not about permission; it’s about royalties. All stations require retrans consent except for out of market networks (i.e. DNS), the five grandfathered supers, and eligible stations that opt for must-carry.

But LP carriage outside the radius has been subject to royalty payment under the distant regime. Under the new rules, it will be royalty free to its whole DMA, just as full power locals have always been. (As far as I can tell, this is the only change as to which stations are subject to royalties. SV stations were always exempted from section 119 royalties even though they were covered in that section, and the special state/county stations are still subject to the section 119 royalty regime, even though they are now covered under the section 122 license.)

As with all the previous satellite acts, some aspects are ambiguous or open to multiple interpretations. But since the overall thrust seems clearly designed to allow complete network packages to be offered in all DMAs, I’m guessing that where ambiguous provisions can be interpreted to allow such service, that interpretation is most likely the correct one.

One other noteworthy change is that until October 2010, or in some cases, January 2011, only “primary streams” can “serve”, but after that, “multicast streams” can also qualify as network service. Also, the future applicability language has been altered to say clearly that if you’re “unserved” when you subscribe to a distant net, you remain “unserved” as long as you maintain that distant subscription, so long as you also subscribe to any locals that later serve you and are provided by the satellite carrier. This suggests that folks who want a distant HD net because their local station provides that net via SD subchannel would be well advised to get that distant net before October.

#14 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 03:34 PM

DirecTV customer with a Dish Network question:



Dish Network has been providing SD-LIL in my market for years, and HD-LIL since last year. DirecTV has just announced HD-LIL for my market for the 3Q of this year. Given Dish's LIL carriage, and DirecTV's lack of it, I know a LOT of Dish subs, so my question is to help me understand WHEN this will affect them.

My market is the Albany, GA DMA (#145). It has an NBC and FOX affiliate, two satellite PBS stations, a CBS that is licensed to a city outside of the DMA, but who tower and studio exist within the DMA, and an Independent station. Dish Network carries the NBC/FOX affiliate in SD and HD, and the PBS satellite and CBS station in SD. However, due to the lack of an ABC affiliate, Dish Network subscribers are unable to view ABC via satellite since Dish Network can't offer them, and neighboring ABC affiliates won't grant waivers.

My question is this, when can Dish Network LEGALLY offer ABC to this market?! Is it immediately after the bill is signed into law?!

~Alan

#15 OFFLINE   joshjr

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 05:42 PM

DirecTV customer with a Dish Network question:



Dish Network has been providing SD-LIL in my market for years, and HD-LIL since last year. DirecTV has just announced HD-LIL for my market for the 3Q of this year. Given Dish's LIL carriage, and DirecTV's lack of it, I know a LOT of Dish subs, so my question is to help me understand WHEN this will affect them.

My market is the Albany, GA DMA (#145). It has an NBC and FOX affiliate, two satellite PBS stations, a CBS that is licensed to a city outside of the DMA, but who tower and studio exist within the DMA, and an Independent station. Dish Network carries the NBC/FOX affiliate in SD and HD, and the PBS satellite and CBS station in SD. However, due to the lack of an ABC affiliate, Dish Network subscribers are unable to view ABC via satellite since Dish Network can't offer them, and neighboring ABC affiliates won't grant waivers.

My question is this, when can Dish Network LEGALLY offer ABC to this market?! Is it immediately after the bill is signed into law?!

~Alan

Thats a good question and I would say immediately after the law goes into affect. That being said it will take all parties involved time to adjust to the new law. If I get the new law correct you wont need a waiver because that ABC affiliate is not in your DMA so you would qualify for some kind of feed wether the provider offered a significantly viewed station near by or you were automatically given a DNS feed. The day it is written into law I would have that section of the law at my fingertips and be calling to see what my provider had to say.

#16 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 05:48 PM

The injunction still stands after the law is signed by the President. Dish must meet some conditions outlined in the law and then petition the court that issued the injunction to lift it. Currently Dish cannot offer distants. AAD offers distants over Dish's system. When and if that situation will change is uncertain at this time.

#17 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 06:05 PM

The injunction still stands after the law is signed by the President. Dish must meet some conditions outlined in the law and then petition the court that issued the injunction to lift it. Currently Dish cannot offer distants. AAD offers distants over Dish's system. When and if that situation will change is uncertain at this time.


I'm not sure if you understood my question though...

If I read joblo's comments correctly, it appears that SV stations are no longer considered distants... and therefore, should not have any relation to Dish's ability to offer distant channels.

~Alan

#18 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 07:43 AM

The FCC maintains a list of significantly viewed stations. Someone else on this forum may be able to provide the link to that list. I have seen the link elsewhere. You must check and see if the stations you desire are listed as significantly viewed for your area. It is possible that a significantly viewed station will be available as soon as the law goes into effect. I believe that if the station is not significantly viewed, it will be considered a distant. In that case, it will not become available immediately after the President signs the law. The injunction will remain for some time after the law is signed. When the injunction is lifted, Dish will be able to offer the distant station as long as the appropriate conditions are met. However, whether Dish will choose to offer that distant station to your area is a business question that Dish will have to answer.

#19 OFFLINE   Jon Ellis

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 05:05 PM

Significantly-viewed list:

http://www.fcc.gov/m...tions050310.pdf

It's important to remember that DISH does not have to offer SV stations. DirecTV already has the right and does not exercise it in most cases.

#20 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 09:17 PM

The FCC maintains a list of significantly viewed stations. Someone else on this forum may be able to provide the link to that list. I have seen the link elsewhere. You must check and see if the stations you desire are listed as significantly viewed for your area.


I already had the list and was aware of what stations were "Significantly Viewed" and where.

Also, I honestly couldn't care less if Dish offered ABC if it wasn't for the fact that I know a lot of people who have Dish Network.

It is possible that a significantly viewed station will be available as soon as the law goes into effect.


It's important to remember that DISH does not have to offer SV stations. DirecTV already has the right and does not exercise it in most cases.


5-8 of the 19 counties in the DMA have WTVM (Columbus, GA) as "Significantly Viewed", and one (could have sworn it was more, but I clicked on your link to make sure it wasn't changed since I last downloaded it) county has WTXL (Tallahassee, FL) listed.

Tallahassee, FL HD-LIL is already available on Dish Network, and Columbus, GA HD-LIL will be available week after next.

Given how many complaints I've heard about the lack of ABC on Dish Network, I would imagine Dish Network would LOVE to take the opportunity to provide even some those counties with an ABC option.

~Alan

#21 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 11:19 PM

I realize that AAD can continue to operate, but I wonder how likely that is if Dish does resume offering distants. I know that the contract between Dish and AAD said that Dish could resume offering significantly viewed stations at any time if Dish regained the legal ability to do so. However, it is still unclear how/when/if Dish will resume offering distants.

If Dish does resume distants, they have spotbeams that have coverage areas that will allow distants from neighboring markets to be offered. An example would be the Santa Barbara ABC affiliate being offered in Monterey-Salinas, since those markets share the same spotbeam. However, I would expect that Dish would want to launch SF and NY SD on conus, and LA and Chicago HD on conus so that they could offer the same service as AAD. This would preserve continuity for the AAD customers. It is also necessary to have an east and a west big four uplinked in both SD and HD if Dish wants to accommodate recreational vehicle customers.

Does anyone else have an opinion?

#22 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 12:21 AM

Dish has a few months of work to do before approaching the court and asking for the waiver so they can deliver distants again. With this week's uplink changes 206 markets are represented ... the local channels actually in the new markets need to be uplinked (we will probably see them enter test mode next week). DISH will move fast but they can't approach the court until they provide local service in ALL local markets.

Then they wait for the judge to act ... and even though the law says the court SHALL issue the temporary waiver (for 120 days) the waiver isn't issued until the judge issues it. DISH can start providing distants as soon as the temporary waiver is issued.

I don't expect DISH to offer national distants other than to RVers. I believe we will find their future distant service offering to be limited and regional. Yes, having channels on ConUS for RVers would make it possible to deliver those channels to any subscriber ... but I expect DISH to include distants as fill in locals in short markets (where needed) instead of as a la carte channels. It is easy to manage the sales of a package of 8 (or 16 with HD) channels to RVers for $5-$10. Dealing with individual channels for $2-$4 each gets more complicated (and expensive for the customer).

And of course none of this affects AAD except the decreased need for their service. They are still selling distants via C Band the last time I checked. I expect they will continue to sell distants via leased space on DISH's satellites as long as they are able to afford to do so. (At their prices and with DISH providing SVs and regional distants as part of people's normal programming packages I don't see AAD retaining or obtaining enough customers to afford the space. But it is possible.)

#23 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 12:30 AM

I understand that this is what you expect. But do you have some source at Dish telling you this, or on what do you base your expectations?

For example, in Monterey-Salinas market, it appears that Dish wants to offer ABC from Santa Barbara, about 200 miles away and a very small market. About 90 miles away is KGO, from San Francisco, a very large market and the ABC station carried by Direct, AAD, and cable in Monterey-Salinas. Direct and AAD also offer KABC in HD in Monterey-Salinas. I expect that most subscribers in the Monterey-Salinas market prefer KGO as their number one choice, then KABC as a second choice. It seems to me that if Dish does not offer KGO, and possibly KABC, they will be making a mistake in this market. Typically KGO includes weather and other news from this market. Although they are a distant in this market, they know that virtually every viewer in Monterey-Salinas receives KGO.

Edited by runner861, 22 May 2010 - 01:16 AM.


#24 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 12:50 AM

Until the channels are made active there is no telling what DISH will do. The test mapping we see may simply be an error. We're still in wait and see mode.

#25 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 09:12 AM

Yes, but Dish will be making a mistake if they overlook KGO and KABC in the Monterey-Salinas market. It is clear that the Santa Barbara affiliate KEYT is easy to offer here because the Monterey-Salinas and Santa Barbara markets are on the same spotbeam, but Dish will not be able to compete with Direct, cable, or AAD in this market. Cable offers KGO, and Direct and AAD offer KGO and KABC.

However, one thing that we must remember is that there may be severe restrictions on what distants Dish can offer once the injunction is lifted. There is still the contract with AAD to deal with, and that is largely unknown to us. One thing that I do know is that the contract does not restrict Dish from offering "significantly viewed" stations.




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