Broadcasters want the FCC to keep EchoStar Communications Corp. from
requiring subscribers in some markets to get a second dish if they want to see
all their local TV signals via satellite.
EchoStar is putting the signals of some stations on secondary satellites,
which require a second dish.
The NAB and the Association of Local Television Stations say 'the sheer
`hassle factor' of arranging for installation of additional equipment, combined
with the unwillingness (and in some cases inability) of many consumers to
clutter their residences with additional hardware to obtain a modest number of
additional channels, will ensure that only a small percentage of EchoStar
subscribers will actually have access to the full range of local stations.'
The law requires EchoStar to offer all local TV signals in any market where
it offers any, but neither the law nor FCC rules say they must come over one
NAB and ALTV want the FCC to clarify that 'satellite carriers may not
segregate certain local stations on a satellite that requires subscribers to
acquire additional equipment.'
In response, EchoStar says the two-dish solution is an interim fix until it
can launch its two spot-beam satellites.
EchoStar's two satellite providers, Loral and Lockheed, were late on
delivering the birds, says EchoStar spokesman Mark Lumpkin.