Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of:
-Implementation of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999
-Broadcast Signal Carriage Issues CS Docket No. 00-96
-Retransmission Consent Issues CS Docket No. 99-363
REPORT AND ORDER
Adopted: November 29, 2000 Released: November 30, 2000
By the Commission:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION 1
SATELLITE BROADCAST SIGNAL CARRIAGE 10
D. Receive Facilities 43
1. Local Receive Facilities 45
2. Alternative Receive Facilities 49
J. Digital Television 120
Section 338 of the Communications Act of 1934 (“Act”), adopted as part of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999 (“SHVIA”) requires satellite carriers, by January 1, 2002, “to carry upon request all local television broadcast stations’ signals in local markets in which the satellite carriers carry at least one television broadcast station signal,” subject to the other carriage provisions contained in the Act...
D. Receive Facilities
Section 338(b)(1) states that, “A television broadcast station asserting its right to carriage under subsection (a) shall be required to bear the costs associated with delivering a good quality signal to the designated local receive facility of the satellite carrier or to another facility that is acceptable to at least one-half the stations asserting the right to carriage in the local market.”...
1. Local Receive Facilities
In the definition of “local receive facility” in Section 338(h)(2), the satellite carrier is the entity authorized to designate the placement of a local receive facility. If the satellite carrier designates a local receive facility, the television broadcast stations are required by the statute to bear the costs of delivering a good quality signal to “the designated local receive facility of the satellite carrier.” We find that the statute expressly provides that the satellite carrier has the right to determine the location of the local receive facility. We disagree with the proposals offered by AAPTS and Network Affiliates to require a satellite carrier to locate a receive facility either within the Grade B contour or not more than 50 miles from the community of license of each of the local stations in a market. ..
2. Alternative Receive Facility
...a satellite carrier’s local receive facility is the equivalent of a cable system’s headend. We do not believe that the statute requires, nor that any party contemplates, that television stations can unilaterally select a site and force a satellite carrier to construct a facility or move its receive facility there.
As noted above, the statute assigns costs to the broadcaster when providing the satellite carrier with a good quality signal to either a local or alternative facility. We agree, therefore, with BellSouth that a satellite carrier is not obligated to carry a television broadcast station that refuses to pay for the costs of providing a good quality signal. For similar reasons, we disagree with Network Affiliates’ proposal that if the carrier uses an alternative facility, which at least half of the local stations find acceptable, then the satellite carrier should pay the incremental costs of delivering each broadcaster’s signal if the alternative facility is more than 50 miles from the reference point of the station’s community of license.
We decline to establish a special complaint standard or process for disputes concerning alternative receive facility disputes...
...We... decline to adopt a good faith test to be used in the context of receive point negotiations.
5. Good Quality Signal
Standard: ...Under the current cable carriage regime, television broadcast stations must deliver either a signal level of -45dBm for UHF signals or -49dBm for VHF signals at the input terminals of the signal processing equipment, to be considered eligible for carriage....
DirecTV states that the Commission should define “good quality signal” as one that will facilitate efficient MPEG compression of all channels. ...We decline to adopt DirecTV’s good quality signal proposals for several reasons. First, we believe that the TV1 standard is too rigid a construct. .... Moreover, ...satellite carriers, such as Echostar, have been retransmitting local television signals that they have received over-the-air without much concern about signal quality (AntAltMike note: HaHaHaHA!).
We decide to apply the current good quality signal standards applicable in the cable context to satellite carriers...A television station may use microwave transmissions, fiber optic cable, or telephone lines as long as they pay for the costs of such delivery mechanisms. Such alternative delivery methods are sanctioned under the cable carriage rules and should be applicable in the satellite carriage context.
Carriage of Television Stations With Disputed Signal Quality. In the Notice, we recognized that a broadcaster not providing a good quality signal to a cable system headend is not qualified for carriage....
Good Signal Quality Measurement and Testing. With respect to the manner of testing for a good quality signal, we note that the Commission has adopted a method for measuring signal strength in the cable carriage context. Generally, if a test measuring signal strength results in an initial reading of less than ‑51 dBm for a UHF station, at least four readings must be taken over a two‑hour period. If the initial readings are between ‑51 dBm and ‑45 dBm, inclusive, readings must be taken over a 24‑hour period with measurements not more than four hours apart to establish reliable test results. For a VHF station, if the initial readings are less than ‑55 dBm, at least four readings must be taken over a two‑hour period. Where the initial readings are between ‑55 dBm and ‑49 dBm, inclusive, readings should be taken over a 24‑hour period, with measurements no more than four hours apart to establish reliable test results...
We believe that the signal testing practices in the cable carriage context should be generally applied in the satellite carriage context. ....
J. Digital Television
The Commission has adopted rules establishing a transitional process for the conversion from an analog to a digital form of broadcast transmission. The rules allow each existing analog television licensee or each eligible permittee to construct and operate digital facilities using 6 MHz of spectrum, in addition to the 6 MHz of spectrum used to continue analog broadcasting until the end of the transition. The broadcast station will transmit a signal consistent with the standards adopted in Advanced Television Systems and Their Impact Upon the Existing Television Broadcast Service, Fourth Report and Order, giving it the flexibility to broadcast in a high definition mode, in a multiple program standard definition mode, in a datacasting mode, or a mixture of all three, provided that the licensee provides at least one over-the-air video program stream to consumers. ...
...IT IS ORDERED that..., the Commission’s rules ARE HEREBY AMENDED
Federal Communications Commission
Magalie Roman Salas