Senate Panel Clears SHVIA Renewal


The Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday approved a bill to extend the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act for five more years — another step in ensuring uninterrupted access to ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox programming for millions of satellite-dish owners.

The bill (S. 2013), approved by voice vote, is less onerous on EchoStar Communications Corp. than companion House legislation that was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee earlier in the month.

Unlike the Senate bill, the House bill would require EchoStar to stop requiring customers in about 40 markets to obtain a second dish in order to receive all local-TV stations.

The SHVIA bill is considered must-pass legislation because after Dec. 31, DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar would lose their authority to serve a few million eligible households with out-of-town feeds of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.

If those signals were dropped, the anger of viewers would likely be felt on Capitol Hill.

The DBS providers do not have to worry about continuing to serve local markets with their local TV stations. The copyright license to offer those signals on a local-to-local basis is permanent.