John Eggerton of Multichannel News reports that the U.S. Congress has agreed to extend the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act for a period of 60 days.
The extension was passed last Saturday morning as an amendment to the Defense appropriations bill, which became a vehicle for several bills with deadlines, including the satellite extension. The blanket license that allows satellite companies to important distant network affiliates to viewers who are unable to receive a viewable version of their local affiliate would have expired on December 31st. Now, legislators will have more time to hammer out differences. Those include a deal to allow Dish network back into the distant network signal business in exchange for delivering local TV station signals into all 210 TV markets. There is also an amendment that would speed up the timetable for Dish to deliver noncommercial HD signals in local markets, which the No. 2 DBS provider has said could interfere with the deal, though the extension also gives it and noncoms a chance to come up with their own private carriage deal. That would make the amendendment moot.