On June 25, 2009, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet voted to send H.R. 2994, the "Satellite Home Viewer Reauthorization Act," to the full Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration. The bill would renew the Communications Act provisions that govern direct broadcast satellite carriage of local and distant broadcast signals for another five years, and it would also make several technical modifications to the Act to reflect the shift to digital-only broadcasting, including adoption of a modified predictive model to be used for determining when a subscriber can receive distant signals. The bill is expected to be combined with a companion measure yet to be formally introduced by the House Judiciary Committee that addresses the Copyright Act elements of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act (SHVERA), adopted in 2004.
Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher (D-VA), during the markup of the bill, noted that H.R. 2994 is a narrowly tailored bill meant to make only those changes to federal law necessary to reauthorize SHVERA. He expects, however, that as the bill moves to Full Committee markup, several issues may become part of the legislation. The Chairman stated that he was working with stakeholders to create additional statutory incentives to ensure local-into-local DBS service in all 210 Designated Market Areas (DMAs), and that he also hoped to create a fix for so-called "short markets," those markets that do not have a full complement of all four major network affiliates. In a statement made during the markup, Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) called for action on language to permit adjacent market signal importation into DMAs that cross state lines. Expectations are that Rep. Deal and Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR) will offer an amendment on this issue during Full Committee action on H.R. 2994.