The National Association of Broadcasters wants the Senate Commerce Committee to know that EchoStar Communications Corp.'s two-dish policy for carrying all local stations in a market is a stopgap solution that should now be stopped.
In a letter to members of the committee, NAB EVP John Orlando said he was countering what he said was EchoStar Chairman Charlie Ergen's intention, expressed in hearings on reauthorization of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act, of continuing that two-dish policy unless Congress expressly prevents it.
Orlando said that Ergen had labeled the policy an "interim" solution to local-into-local service back in 2001, when EchoStar was waiting on some new spot-beam satellites to be delivered.
Those satellites have long-since been delivered, said Orlando, and "the once interim solution has become permanent."
"Language included in Committee Prints of the House Judiciary and Commerce Committee 'Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act' measure would end EchoStar's discriminatory '2-Dish' practice," wrote Orlando. "Given EchoStar's duplicitous record on this issue, I strongly urge inclusion of this language in any final Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act reauthorization package."