In a letter to Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler affirmed his commitment to a workable industry-wide set-top box standard to replace the system removed by Congress in the satellite television reauthorization bill STELAR. Public Knowledge applauds the Chairman for his commitment to leading the charge on consumer protections and choice in the video device marketplace.
Today the House of Representatives passed satellite legislation that includes a cable giveaway that harms the set-top box market by voice vote. The STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, the new House counterpart to the Senate’s STAVRA bill, contains a provision that could drive up cable prices, reduce consumer choice and impede video innovation. Public Knowledge urges the Senate to reject this approach or adopt the Markey amendment, which preserves the opportunity for competition in the set-top box market -- and consumer choice.
On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA). This Act is the most recent version in a series of authorizations dating back to the 1980s that governs the carriage of broadcast signals by satellite television providers. The current Act contains several provisions that are set to expire at the end of 2014, and this hearing addressed whether or not provisions in this Act should be extended and for how long.
John Bergmayer, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge, will testify tomorrow before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the hearing titled, "Reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA)." Bergmayer's testimony will recommend that Congress reauthorize STELA to ensure that customers can continue to receive the programming they pay for.