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Martin, Copps: FCC should be tougher on EchoStar - Broadcasting & Cable

Martin, Copps: FCC should be tougher on EchoStar

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Federal Communications Commission members Kevin Martin and Michael Copps
chastised the FCC's Media Bureau Wednesday for its decision regarding EchoStar
Communications Corp.'s two-dish solution for providing local TV signals.

While strange political bedfellows, Republican Martin and Democrat Copps
agreed "wholeheartedly" that EchoStar's two-dish solution "failed to provide
consumers with access to local broadcast signals at a nondiscriminatory price or
in a nondiscriminatory manner." They chided the bureau for allowing a remedy
that continues to make it too easy for EchoStar to keep up the practice.

"Such a remedy effectively eviscerates the finding that EchoStar's current
policy is unlawful," the two wrote. "We fear that the order will allow EchoStar
to continue its two-dish policy -- albeit with better notice -- in a manner that
continues to make some local broadcast signals inaccessible to consumers as a
practical matter."

The Media Bureau last week ruled that by putting local TV signals on two
satellites, EchoStar is discriminating against many local broadcasters.

To solve the problem, the bureau gave EchoStar several options, including
moving all the local TV signals onto one satellite so they can be received by
one dish, or sufficiently informing customers how they can receive all of their
local stations.

The bureau also said EchoStar could ask for a waiver to delay implementation
of this ruling so no customers will lose their satellite
service.

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