Rep. Bart Stupak (D.Mich.) has proposed requiring satellite companies to carry all local TV station signals in every market.
Currently, cable operators are under a carry one-carry all requirement, meaning that they must carry all local TV stations in a market, if they elect to distribute any of them.
Stupak, a member of the House Communications, Technology & Internet Subcommittee, has introduced H.R. 927, the Satellite Consumers' Right to Local Channels Act, which he says would insure rural markets -- which boast a large percentage of satellite homes -- have access to their local TV stations via satellite.
Stupak pointed out that currently there are 31 markets--out of 210 nationwide--where DirecTV and Dish Network don't transmit local stations.
He also pointed out that two of those 31 markets, Alpena and Marquette, are in his district.
"Without their local channels, millions of rural Americans are denied access to critical emergency alerts and local content such as sporting events and news broadcasts, hed said in a statement.
"We support Congressman Stupak's effort and look foward to working with them," said National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton.
The bill would give satellite operators one year from passage to serve all markets.