FCC puts some STELA planks in place, seeks more input


Measures meant to provide more options for subscribers of satellite television services regarding their access to broadcast programming have been adopted by the FCC. It is also seeking comment on how to put together a report on subscribers living in a different state than the geo-political location of their broadcast stations.

One plank allows consumers to pick up the affiliate of a given network that is significantly-viewed in their area instead of the affiliate that is home to the DMA the area happens to be assigned to – eliminating a requirement that the DMA affiliate must be carried before the SV station is. The FCC noted, “Going forward, satellite subscribers simply must receive their carrier’s local-into-local service package.”

Second, consumers wishing to prove eligibility to receive distant broadcast network signals due to the lack of access to local broadcast stations may now prove their eligibility using the digital Individual Location Longley-Rice method, and signal strength measurements will apply to digital signals. A Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking has is also coming to seek improvements to ILLR.

One of the issues that has come up regarding which broadcast stations consumers may receive involves citizens living in a different state than the central location of their DMA, depriving them often of news of interest to residents of their state. The FCC is supposed to write a report on this, and is seeking commentary and data to illuminate the following issues: “(1) analyze the number of households in a State that receive the signals of local broadcast stations assigned to a community of license located in a different State; (2) evaluate the extent to which consumers in each local market have access to in-state broadcast programming over-the-air or from a multichannel video programming distributor; and (3) consider whether there are alternatives to DMAs to define ‘local’ markets that would provide consumers with more in-state broadcast programming.”