Congress poised to let satellite companies beam local stations
Change could increase competition with cable
From Correspondent Wolf Blitzer
October 30, 1999
Web posted at: 11:58 p.m. EDT (0358 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Congressional negotiators are close to an
agreement clearing the way for direct satellite television
companies to beam local broadcast stations to customers, CNN
Until now, consumers who chose satellite television service
had to receive their local stations from either an over-the-air antenna or through basic cable service, giving cable
companies an advantage over satellite companies in attracting
Supporters of the change argue that it will make satellite
service more attractive and benefit consumers by increasing
competition for cable companies.
A congressional source tells CNN that House and Senate
negotiators have "reached a tentative agreement on all the
major points" of the bill. The legislation is expected to
clear both houses of Congress before they recess in November.
Satellite companies should be able to start offering local
stations in major markets next year, with service in small
markets phased in over coming years, sources say.
Both the top Republican and Democrat on the House
telecommunications subcommittee handling the bill -- Reps.
Billy Tauzin (R-Louisiana) and Edward Markey (D-
Massachusetts) -- support the measure, as does the White