Communications and Technology Subcommittee Continues Review of Satellite Television Law

September 11, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today continued its review of the nation’s satellite television law with a hearing focused on the role of innovation and regulation in the video marketplace. The subcommittee is examining the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA), portions of which are set to sunset on December 31, 2014. The subcommittee has previously looked at whether STELA still serves an important function or if it is out of step with today’s video marketplace and members are exploring whether Congress should reauthorize the law as is, revise it, or allow portions to lapse.

“In this diverse and evolving marketplace, one thing remains true: you should be compensated for your content, network investments or intellectual property. If you lay fiber, you should receive fair compensation in the marketplace for your investment. If you create content - movies, TV shows, or apps - you should receive fair compensation in the marketplace. If you create smartphones, tablets, dongles, screens, or the software that runs on them, you should receive fair compensation in the marketplace,” said Walden. “Given these technological changes and the multitude of options available to American consumers, our laws should reflect the operation of the free market in a competitive environment.”

“The satellite industry serves one-third of America’s pay-TV audience; broadcasters are experimenting with new digital and mobile services; cable providers are offering broadband and telephone service; and the Internet has opened the video market and lowered barriers for new players who are hoping to transform the way we all watch television,” added Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “Our responsibility, as lawmakers, is to ensure that as technological advancements and breakthroughs transform the video marketplace, government is not standing in the way.”

With portions of the law set to expire at the end of 2014, Chairman Walden outlined his anticipated timeframe for any legislation on these issues. “It takes time and process to develop good policy and even more to build consensus. Yet, the deadline for reauthorizing STELA looms large, and we must continue to make progress. With that in mind, I expect to circulate a discussion draft on these issues no later than the first quarter of next year,” he concluded.