DISH Network moved closer to resuming delivery of distant broadcast network signals to customers as the FCC certified DISH as a “qualified carrier” in accordance with the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (STELA). Released last Thursday, the FCC’s order corresponds to a STELA provision that deems any direct broadcast satellite (DBS) provider that delivers local broadcast signals to all 210 designated market areas (DMAs) nationwide to be a qualified carrier of distant broadcast network services to eligible subscribers. As DirecTV had agreed previously to offer local-into-local service in all 210 DMAs, the provision was directed effectively toward DISH Network, which was banned by court order from offering distant network services after it was found to have illegally transmitted distant signals to subscribers who were capable of receiving local broadcast affiliates over-the-air. With a grant of certified carrier status in hand, DISH may now seek a permanent waiver of the U.S. district court injunction that has blocked DISH from participating directly in the distant network business for four years. (DISH—which currently relies on third-party carriers to bring distant network services to customers—has received a temporary waiver of the injunction that allows DISH to provide distant network services to markets that lack a full complement of local network affiliates.) After reviewing DISH’s request for certification, the FCC determined that the company “is providing a ‘good quality satellite signal’ to at least 90% of the households in each of the 29 new DMAs” in which DISH has expanded its provision of local-into-local service. The FCC further concluded that “the lack of any relevant objection to the certification, and the absence of any evidence that DISH has failed to provide local service, as defined by STELA, in all 210 markets, supports DISH’s extensive filing.” Applauding the decision, a DISH spokesman said, “we look forward to receiving our distant signal license back from the court.”