Chairman Rockefeller's Statement on STELA Becoming Law

May 27, 2010

JDR Head ShotWASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, issued the following statement after President Obama signed the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (STELA, S. 3333) into law:

“All American families should have access to their local news, weather, sports and community programming - anything less is unacceptable in the 21st century. This is about fairness and leveling the playing field. That's why I fought for greater competition and access to quality programming for consumers, especially those living in rural areas, like in my home state of West Virginia,” said Chairman Rockefeller. “The enactment of this bill into law will preserve and improve consumer access to quality programming no matter who they are, or where they live.”


The Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 reauthorizes the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act of 2004, Chairman Rockefeller’s bill to provide satellite carriers with a regulatory framework to retransmit broadcast television signals to subscribers throughout America. The bill extends for five years statutory regimes that allow satellite television service providers to retransmit the broadcasts of local broadcast TV stations and cable superstations without negotiating licensing terms and fees with copyright owners.

Key provisions of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010:

  • Extends the statutory provision that permits a satellite carrier to retransmit, without first having to obtain consent, the signal of a distant network station to certain unserved households and the distant signal copyright license until 2014.
  • Provides incentives for a satellite carrier to provide consumers in all 210 markets in the United States with access to local broadcast programming.
  • Requires satellite carriers to offer subscribers the high-definition (HD) signals of public broadcasting stations in local markets where the carrier provides other local stations in HD by 2011.
  • Enables statewide public broadcasting networks to be offered by satellite carriers to subscribers throughout the state.
  • Extends the provisions in the Communications Act that require that retransmission consent negotiations be conducted in good faith as well as the prohibition on exclusive retransmission agreements.