Latest STELAR renewal bill could disadvantage satellite TV customers

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Hundreds of thousands of satellite subscribers could lose access to network TV under a proposed new bill. The bill in question—the Satellite Television Community Protection and Promotion Act of 2019—was introduced this week by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. The legislation would stop DIRECTV from providing remote network signals to on-the-go customers like truckers, RVers, tailgaters, and many rural customers, forcing customers to switch providers and removing a competitor from the marketplace. Instead of renewing the distant signal license for all consumers, this legislation would allow DISH to use the license but not DIRECTV. Consumers deserve to have competition in the marketplace.

“The provision basically takes aim at one company and doesn't help close the digital divide,” said Ken McEldowney, executive director of Consumer Action. “Rural and other ‘unserved’ residents often can’t access local broadcasts over the air or via cable, so they depend on satellite television for news, sports and other important programming. Rural consumers deserve the opportunity to benefit from healthy competition when choosing a satellite provider. Yet this bill effectively hands that choice over to Congress by allowing them to pick winners and losers in the marketplace.”

Consumer Action urges Congress to preserve consumer choice, access to information, and competition by passing a clean five-year reauthorization of STELAR (Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act) before it expires at the end of 2019.

 

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