For Immediate Release
Wednesday, October 27, 1999

G: 99-197
Contact: Morrie Goodman
Ranjit de Silva


WASHINGTON-Commerce Secretary William M. Daley has urged a Senate-House Conference Committee to quickly resolve outstanding issues relating to a proposed bill that would give consumers in remote areas greater access to network television programming and to local television signals.

In separate letters to key members of the Conference Committee, Daley noted that the proposed bill should be designed to ultimately enhance consumer choice and promote competition in the multichannel video marketplace. The Conference Committee is comprised of members from the House and Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees.

"The Administration believes the viewing public's interest should be of paramount importance during the conference Committee's deliberations," Daley said. "The Administration is particularly concerned that broadcast carriage issues be decided in a way that promotes greater access to local television signals for all Americans and enables satellite service providers to offer services comparable to cable and thus spur competition," he said.

Daley also urged the Conference Committee to "refrain from imposing any other broadcast carriage regulation unless the Federal Communications Commission has had an opportunity to examine the potential impact (of such regulations) on satellite carriers."

The legislation would reauthorize the Satellite Home Viewer ACT (SHVA) for an additional five years. It permits satellite carriers to deliver distant network programming signals to consumers who otherwise cannot receive network programming through their local broadcast stations. The bill would also, for the first time, authorize satellite carriers to offer local broadcast signals to consumers in their local market. The Act expires in December and at that time satellite consumers will lose access to network programming.