The FCC has scheduled a vote for the March 26 public meeting on implementing new rules to allow satellite MVPDs to import TV stations that may not be in their service area, but are significantly viewed there anyway. Cable MVPDs already have that flexibility.
Congress has mandated the move, so the FCC is basically following through on that legislative imperative.
In reauthorizing the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Reauthorization (STELAR) legislation last year, Congress extended that market modification ability to satellite operators. In addition, STELAR gave the FCC more flexibility to modify markets, both cable and satellite, to take care of so-called orphan counties. Those are ones where because of the way a market is drawn up, viewers may get a version of a network affiliate from an adjoining state, rather than their own.