Possibly good news from Dish !!! Dish approached the FCC to allow them to provide HD programming to stations that can't get their stuff together by the May 2002 deadline. This would be even better for those remote areas of NM that will definitely not get their HD programming from ABQ stations for many decades from now. Contact the FCC showing your support for this by sending an email to the FCC contacts at www.fcc.org/contacts.html.
Here is the summary of the proposal.
EchoStar Communications Corp. is seeking federal approval to offer
digital-broadcast signals in markets where TV stations have failed to meet
digital-TV rollout deadlines set by the Federal Communications Commission.
By next May, all 1,300 commercial TV stations are required to transmit digital
signals, but the industry expects about one-third of those stations to miss the
deadline and seek extensions from the FCC.
EchoStar -- the No. 2 direct-broadcast satellite carrier, with 6 million subscribers --
is asking the FCC to deny waivers to the affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox unless
those stations agree to allow EchoStar to provide out-of-town digital-TV signals in
markets where the rollout has stalled.
'Under our proposal,' EchoStar chairman Charlie Ergen said in a Sept. 20 letter to
FCC chairman Michael Powell, 'a broadcaster that fails to meet its digital deadline
would not be able to receive relief from the [FCC] while denying consumers digital
EchoStar said its proposal would serve the dual purpose of exposing consumers to
broadcast digital-TV signals and spurring TV stations to advance the build-out of
digital TV has quickly as possible.
'In other words,' Ergen explained, 'if the broadcaster will not provide consumers
with a digital signal, we will.'
The National Association of Broadcasters, which represents hundreds of network
affiliates, immediately rejected EchoStar's proposal. For years, the NAB has been
fighting satellite carriers that invade local TV markets with network programming
from out-of-town markets.
'Given the tremendous effort broadcasters have made and are making to meet the
DTV deadlines, Mr. Ergen's request is ridiculous on its face,' NAB spokesman
Dennis Wharton said.