Satellite Television Law Reauthorization | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Satellite Television Law Reauthorization

Letters to Officials

June 11, 2013

U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Energy and Commerce
Washington, DC 20515


Dear Committee on Energy and Commerce Members,

On June 12, 2013, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing titled, “Satellite Television Law: Repeal, Reauthorize, or Revise?”  On behalf of the more than one million members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), I urge you to consider the following as you discuss the December 31, 2014 expiration of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA).

The sunset provisions in STELA provide an opportunity to open up discussions about outdated regulatory schemes included in the 1992 Cable Act such as must-carry, retransmission consent, media ownership restrictions, and the compulsory copyright.  The regulatory structure should be revised to reflect the current competitive marketplace that includes satellite TV.  

During the 112th Congress, the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act was introduced to repeal provisions which require MVPDs to set aside portions of their channel capacity for mandatory carriage of local commercial broadcast stations, and direct the Federal Communications Commission to repeal network non-duplication, along with other burdensome regulations, including syndicated exclusivity and sports blackout rules.  The legislation would have repealed media ownership caps, which limit the number of broadcast stations a single company can own in a given media market, and lift the ban on broadcasters owning a newspaper in the same market.  Additionally, the bill would have repealed the compulsory copyright license, in which the government dictates the royalties MVPDs pay to broadcasters for their content, instead of allowing these royalties to be determined by a free market.

The old television regulatory structure inhibits the free market, reduces competition by undercutting smaller providers’ ability to compete on price, increases costs for consumers, and frustrates millions of Americans by shutting off popular programming at peak viewing periods.  I appreciate your interest in exploring these issues, and strongly urge you to support a reform plan that will remove the regulatory interventions that impede a free market.


Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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