On November 21, the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) that would permanently extend the distant signal license for use only by RVs and truckers and in “short” markets (those without a local affiliate of ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC) on the condition that AT&T agrees to deliver local signals in 12 rural markets currently being denied access to local stations within 120 days.
NAB supports this bill that would ensure all Americans have access to their local TV stations regardless of what community they live in and we thank Chairman Nadler and Ranking Member Doug Collins (GA-6) for their leadership on this legislation.
Earlier this week on Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a STELAR bill that would make the “good faith” element for retransmission negotiations permanent. The legislation also contains policy riders requiring truth-in-billing from a broad swath of video, phone and internet companies, and for broadcasters to negotiate with a joint cable buying group for retransmission consent.
While this outcome is preferable to the current five-year cycle that has led to pay-TV companies using viewers as political pawns, we continue to question the need for renewal of STELAR legislation.
We are grateful to Chairman Frank Pallone (NJ-6) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (OR-2) for their leadership on this issue and look forward to working with other respective committees in both the House and Senate as the legislative process continues.
NAB & MAB will continue to educate Congress on how STELAR harms viewers. There is no policy justification or technological reason to renew this outdated law, and any temporary reauthorization harms local communities.