Today, Public Knowledge joined five other public interest groups in a letter urging Congress to pass the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) by the end of this year. STELAR enables satellite TV subscribers to access broadcast stations to view news, sports, and programming at a fair and competitive price. Public Knowledge contends that unless the bill is reauthorized by December 31, 2019, more than 870,000 satellite TV subscribers — many of whom reside in rural areas — are at risk of losing access to broadcast content vital for their communities.
The following is an excerpt from the letter:
“The current situation in which hundreds of thousands of satellite television subscribers are held hostage to cyclical and frequent regulatory disputes is unsustainable. We believe that consumers should be entitled to fair access to a full range of national programming. Permanently reauthorizing STELAR will allow viewers living in underserved areas to continue receiving content without unnecessary disruption and lay the foundation for improved video marketplace competition.
“Consumers are being taken advantage of and Congress can put a stop to it. In addition to provisions addressing satellite licenses, STELAR contains ‘good faith’ provisions that, if properly enforced by the FCC, could reduce blackouts and lower consumer bills.
“The evidence for a permanent STELAR reauthorization is overwhelming. The video marketplace is in dire need of sweeping regulatory reform, but the artificial deadlines imposed by STELAR’s expiration keep that from happening. In the interest of consumers across the country, we call on Congress to reauthorize STELAR before it expires at the end of this year.”
You may view the full letter here.
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.