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Guest Message by DevFuse

Broadcasters Step Up Second Dish Fight

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Posted 07 February 2002 - 06:10 AM

Lost in this week's shuffle of comments on the EchoStar/DirecTV merger at the Federal Communications Commission is the broadcaster battle concerning EchoStar's use of a second dish to deliver a select slate of locals.

The National Association of Broadcasters, which is leading the charge against the second dish, told the FCC this week that the "core principle of carry-one-carry-all will be gutted if EchoStar is allowed to continue to segregate disfavored stations on remote satellites that will be accessible, at best, to only a tiny fraction of its subscribers."

EchoStar said in the past that launch of spot-beam satellites set to carry the extra local channels has been delayed, which forces the company to offer select local stations via a second dish for the moment. However, "EchoStar then goes silent about when its 'delayed' satellite will be launched to give it additional CONUS capacity," NAB said.

"Instead, EchoStar points to something entirely different - its merger with Hughes - as the event that will supposedly bring its discriminatory treatment of some local stations to an end," the broadcaster association said. "And it aggressively insists that it has the right under the commission's regulations to continue to isolate disfavored stations on remote satellites for as long as it likes."

Numerous broadcasters also contacted the FCC about its opposition to the use of a second dish, including Univision, Telemundo, PBS and Paxson.

The second dish EchoStar is offering to customers supplies local networks outside of typical network affiliates. The second dish channel set contains independent stations, off-air shopping nets and Spanish-language programming, among other channels. EchoStar has said its use of a second dish is in harmony with SHVIA and commission rules.

From <a href="http://www.skyreport.com" target=none>SkyReport</a> (Used with permission)

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