Press Release

Public Knowledge Warns Congress New Satellite TV Bill Could Harm Consumers

November 19, 2019 , , , , ,

Yesterday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the “Satellite Television Community Protection and Promotion Act” in an attempt to prevent consumers from experiencing runaway price increases for video content. Unfortunately, the bill puts the ability of many rural and other viewers to continue to access network programming at risk and could result in an effective pay-TV monopoly for many viewers.

The following can be attributed to Jenna Leventoff, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“Congressman Nadler’s bill likely stems from a noble desire to improve local television coverage for viewers. However, this bill could actually result in less service, not more, for the viewers in question. There is no guarantee or requirement in this bill for DirecTV to enter the markets where the company does not currently provide local broadcast stations. Instead, this legislation risks having hundreds of thousands of residents lose access to at least one network station that they rely on for news, sports, and entertainment.

“The consumers who benefit from current satellite law are those who are the most vulnerable. They likely live in areas with poor over-the-air reception and no broadband and cable availability — leaving them without popular options to receive broadcast content — or require satellite television to access the news that is most relevant to them, especially if it’s international. This legislation could leave those consumers with just two options: switch to the only satellite provider available that offers local broadcast programming — Dish Network — or lose access to that broadcast network content. This creates an effective monopoly, which does not serve the interests of viewers.

“We urge Congress to protect vulnerable communities by passing a clean Satellite Act reauthorization. Viewers — and not the interests of big business — should come first.”

You may view our recent letter urging Congress to provide a permanent solution for satellite TV subscribers for more information.