EchoStar Networks May Be Saved By Senate

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

bajadudes

Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2006
Posts
13
Location
Raleigh NC
FYI, forgive the formatting i just wanted to get this up quickly and see what you guys think, this is also cross posted at www.datastormusers.com:

> I thought you might be interested in this.
> EchoStar Networks May Be Saved By Senate
>
> Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is leading a
> bipartisan effort to protect home
> satellite television customers in Vermont and across
> the country from losing
> access to some of the most popular television
> networks.
>
> Leahy, the ranking Democratic member of the
> Judiciary Committee - and the
> panel's incoming chairman for the 110th Congress -
> Thursday introduced the
> Satellite Consumer Protection Act, joined by
> Senators Daniel Inouye
> (D-Hawaii), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Wayne Allard
> (R-Colo.), Jay Rockefeller
> (D-W.V.), Robert Byrd (D-W.V.), Ken Salazar
> (D-Colo.), Hillary Clinton
> (D-N.Y.) Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Mark Pryor (D-Minn.)
> and Michael Enzi (R-
> Nev.).
>
> Leahy over the last decade has co-authored two laws
> that have expanded home
> satellite service to millions of viewers in Vermont
> and nationwide. One of
> the earlier Leahy initiatives has fostered
> local-into-local satellite
> service, enabling Vermonters and others to receive
> local channels in their
> home satellite program packages.
>
> Leahy's new bill would preserve satellite television
> service for roughly
> 800,000 EchoStar consumers around the country, and
> in Vermont, who are
> expected to lose it December 1 as a result of a
> federal court injunction.
> EchoStar is expected to suspend service to these
> consumers following a
> ruling that it violated federal law by providing
> distant signals to areas
> that did not need satellite to receive that
> programming.
>
> The bill strikes a balance between consumer
> protection and tough enforcement
> against EchoStar for violating the law. The
> legislation requires EchoStar
> to deposit $20 million to be used to cover any
> future violations.
>
> "This is a reasonable solution that penalizes
> Echostar for violating the
> law, while protecting the people who are the real
> victims of this serious
> problem: the consumers who are paying for these
> services," said Leahy.
>
> The bipartisan bill provides a targeted solution by
> permitting the service
> to continue under specific criteria, including:
>
> Where local stations are not available from a
> satellite provider,
> EchoStar could bring in a distant network station if
> it compensates the
> local station.

> In areas that do not have affiliates of all four
> networks (ABC,
> CBS, FOX, NBC), EchoStar could bring in a distant
> signal of the missing
> network affiliate because no local station would be
> harmed.
>
> Stations from neighboring that are considered
> "significantly viewed"
> by the Federal Communications Commission, and
> generally treated as local
> stations, could be carried, such as the Albany,
> N.Y., stations which serve
> Vermont's Bennington County and the Boston-area
> stations, which serve
> Windham County.
>
> Here is the statement of Senator Patrick Leahy on
> introduction of the
> Satellite Consumer Protection Act:
>
> Today I am pleased to introduce the Satellite
> Consumer Protection Act of
> 2006, and I am proud that Senators Inouye, Snowe,
> Allard, Rockefeller, Byrd,
> Salazar, Clinton, Pryor, Roberts and Enzi are among
> those joining me in
> sponsoring this important bill. I regret the
> necessity of this legislation,
> but I am determined to protect consumers -
> especially consumers in rural
> areas such as Vermont.
>
> This is a pro-consumer, bipartisan bill that
> addresses a problem that soon
> will face millions of Americans who subscribe to
> satellite TV services. I
> realize full well that this bill may not please the
> major corporations
> affected by this remedy, but its intent is not to
> help them, but to help
> home satellite viewers.
>
> A federal court recently found that EchoStar
> willfully, flagrantly and
> repeatedly violated federal law, and I believe that
> EchoStar should be held
> to account for its decade of illegal activity. The
> situation is ultimately
> quite complicated, but the simplest version is this:
> EchoStar has been
> bringing distant network signals to areas that did
> not need satellite to
> provide access to that programming. But the penalty
> for such actions is
> harsh, and the court that heard the lawsuit had no
> choice: EchoStar will be
> required to stop retransmitting any distant signals.
> EchoStar flouted the
> law, but it is consumers who will suffer. Unless we
> pass this bill, many
> rural subscribers around the country will lose
> access to news and
> entertainment programming from the free,
> over-the-air broadcast networks.
>
> The Satellite Consumer Protection Act is a
> practical, narrow, and -- most
> importantly -- pro-consumer solution to a problem of
> EchoStar's creation.
> The court-issued injunction, set to take effect
> December 1, will prohibit
> EchoStar from providing any distant network stations
> to any of its
> customers. Under the Satellite Consumer Protection
> Act, the injunction will
> apply to the roughly 95 percent of the country where
> EchoStar provides
> residents their local, over-the-air stations. Our
> legislation would only
> permit EchoStar to bring in distant network stations
> in three situations.
>
> First, where local stations are not available from a
> satellite provider,
> EchoStar could bring in a distant network station if
> it compensates the
> local station. Second, in areas that do not have
> affiliates of all four
> networks, EchoStar could bring in a distant signal
> of the missing network
> affiliate because no local station would be harmed.
> Third, stations from
> neighboring localities that are considered
> "significantly viewed" by the
> Federal Communications Commission, and are generally
> treated as local
> stations, could be carried.
>
> This legislation would not be complete without an
> enforcement provision that
> will truly curb EchoStar's practice of illegally
> providing copyrighted
> content. The Satellite Consumer Protection Act
> therefore imposes real
> monetary penalties for violating the Act and
> requires EchoStar to put
> sufficient funds in escrow with the copyright office
> to cover any future
> violations.
>
> This bipartisan bill respects the legitimate
> interests of broadcasters who
> have been harmed by EchoStar's actions, while it
> serves the interests of the
> people who are the innocent bystanders and the real
> victims of this emerging
> problem: the consumers who are paying for these
> services.
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
I believe it's a huge mistake for Congress to get involved in this.  Dish Network is being severely punished by the court because the illegal activity was so flagrant there is no other recourse.  As for those customers who will be losing the distant network stations, even if entitled to them, they DO have an alternative, DirecTV, who followed all the rules and operated legally.

This is a situation that should be addressed by economics, not legislation.  Congress has more important items on their agenda than coming to the aid of a company that chose to compete illegally.
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
25,115
Location
Davison Michigan
The problem Ned is it is not DISH network that is  being punished

It is we the subscribers  We are loosing our programming.

Now, it may be that We will then punish Dish by switching to Direc  but that is still unfair to us as Direc does not offer the same deals that DISH does (For one thing DISH has the LOWEST price package) so you see.  It is the PEOPLE who suffer unde this court order not Echostar
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
Yes, it is Dish that is being punished as it was Dish that broke the law.  The subscribers have an alternative, DirecTV.

Here's a quote that puts this in a better perspective:

A House quote: 'In a letter to House colleagues Wednesday, Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) said EchoStar shouldn't be rewarded for its "blatant disregard" of copyright law and shouldn't be allowed "to use its customers as human shields in the debate on the legality of its operations."'

Also, the House has adjourned until Dec. 5 so no recourse can come from anywhere other than the courts by the Dec. 1 deadline.

The mobile users are a very small part of the customer base.  The vast majority of the violations involved fixed base customers that benefited illegally from Dish Network's illegal acts.  Mobile users are, unfortunately, caught up in the situation, and don't have enough clout to get anyone, even Congress, to act on their behalf.
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
Thanks, Shayne, I'll buy the first one at QZ :)
 

Ron

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Posts
18,082
Location
Home is where we park it
IMHO Dish should be punished and the ding a lings in the senate that wants to allow the law breaker go unpunished should not be allowed to.  To let Dish get away with what they have done is an injustice against DTV who took the proper steps to comply with the law.  Yes it isn't fair to the Dish customers but then Dish should be required to provide their customers restitution for any hardship or inconvenience. The Dish customers do have an alternative caled DTV.  Politics should have nothing to do with this.
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
25,115
Location
Davison Michigan
Oh, I agree that the injunction punishes DISH for violations, However I think there are better ways of doing this

The problem is that the injunction may (and I stress may) also punish those of us who are LEGITIMATE users of Distant network service.  When you say "The subscribers have a choice, Direc" you are mistaken  Dish has plans that Direc does not have, If I have to switch 1: I have to sign a new contract (Though I should be able to get out of the old one w/o penality as the contract will be broken by DISH's failure to provide the aggred upon services, not by me) and two I have to pay more per month because the plan I'm no Direc does not offer.

Looking at the bill it does provide for real penalities for/to Dish for it's violations and establishes that DISH will also pay for any future violations. And that they will establish an escro account, which in this case is akin to posting a bond, to insure they comply with any fines.

I also agree that I'm not sure that congress is the best place to fix this problem.  I think it is the court.  but the court may need a bit of help from congress.
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
The plans may not correspond exactly, but the subscribers DO have a choice.  YOU may not like the choices, but they are available, and you can legally get DNS from DirecTV.  Since the vast majority of affected subscribers should never been given the DNS in the first place, they have no right to complain.  The mobile users are collateral damage, unfortunately, but an insignificant part of the subscriber base.

As for the courts needing a bit of help from Congress, that is completely backwards thinking.  Congress could use a lot of help from the courts in writing sensible laws.
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
25,115
Location
Davison Michigan
Well,  I'm part of that Collateral damage as I'm a DISH subscriber and, Well, hold on.

Direc has plans starting at 39.95/month  Plus, of course, the additional RV services

Dish plan I'm on is 19.95 plus the additional RV services

So it will cost me 20 dollars per month.  DOUBLE what I'm paying now for the basic service

And this does not address hardware changes I'd need to pay for

Source on plan offerings www.directv.com

As to the court needing help from congress.


You may read them yourself

Congressional Record

The following comments are not mine,  They were made by no less than John D Rockefeller (Democrat, WV, Senator)

  We have introduced this legislation to protect consumers who through no fault of their own can no longer receive network television signals from DISH Network. Our constituents have lost this right because of a nationwide legal battle between DISH Network and television broadcasters. The Court found that DISH Network had violated the law and imposed a penalty. This decision impacted thousands of my constituent and I believe that Congress needed to restore the ability of these consumers to receive network signals. For many rural West Virginians, cable television is not available.

  We have a looming crisis on our hands and Congress must pass our bill immediately. We have a duty to our consumers to minimize the disruption to their daily lives, and our bill allows those consumers who do not have the ability to get local television stations in their area to continue to receive distant signals.

  Again, I urge quick adoption of this legislation.

The judge stated that under the law he has no choice.  This implies that should Congress change the law, he would have a choice, and the fact that he stated it implies the request that congress do so.

I have, on several occasions (not in this forum) commented that I thought a law was a very good idea but was very badly written, It appears to me that this is a case of the Judge saying exactly the same thing and asking Congress to fix the law so he can have choices.

By the way, if my interpretation of the judge's comment is correct,  I agree with him.

Does this bill that was commented on by the Senator the OP quoted fix all that is wrong with the law?  I do not know, I've not read the bill or written my senators about it... I need to do that.

-end clip--

Dishnetwork has still not responded directly to my inquires as to what will happen to RV accounts on 12/1  They keep sending me the same canned reply "You need to get this dish and file that form"  Well, I have a better dish, and I've filed that form.

Edited to move "end clip" to the proper part and to add this comment

Dish finally replied.  The advised me of the early termination clause (Of course if THEY violate the contract  however it would be an interesting case and I do not wish to be the test case) and they confirm that the judge has ordered total shut down.

I do have an option.  I have yet to get it working but I do have an option
 

Alaskansnowbirds

Site Team
Joined
Mar 11, 2005
Posts
2,985
Location
Camp Verde, AZ
I agree with Ned. Nail EchoStar to the wall.

That being said, there is something else that needs to be clarified. I keep reading references about "Distance Networks" and "Local Programming". Most of the time they are used interchangeably. They are NOT the same thing. Local programming is SPOT BEAMED, distance networks are the east and west coast feeds. If I understand all I've read here and on other forums, EchoStar can still provide "Local Programming". The court order stops them from offering "Distance Networks".

John, you mentioned that Dish was $19.95 and Direc was $39.95. Why do you think that is? It's that way because Direc did everything BY THE LAW and got contracts with the networks to broadcast their programming. Contracts cost money. IIRC you were one of many that said that using an open WIFI was stealing. EchoStar has been "stealing" by selling programing that they didn't have a contract to sell. If EchoStar has to pay for the programming they are selling to you what do you think will happen to your bill?

Senator Rockefeller doesn't know what he is talking about. We don't need a new law to get his constituents TV programming. All that is needed is for Dish to sign the contracts with the networks like Direc did.
 

bajadudes

Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2006
Posts
13
Location
Raleigh NC
I found a copy of s 4067 in the congressional record for November 16th.? It's too long to post here and CR is a record of everything that happened on that date so you have to scroll down about a 1/4 of the way to see the bill as introduced? satellite consumer protection act

>>update that link is no good since it is the results of a search,? Once you go to that page resubmit the search using the key words satellite consumer protection act, when the search is returned click on "2 . STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS (Senate - November 16, 2006), when that is opened scroll down to and click on "Page: S11070 S. 4065 Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today I am pleased to introduce the Satellite..."? it's one quarter of the way down on that next page...whew!!<<


and actually DISH reached agreement with all but one network. Fox. Do you think that DTV owned by News Corp, which also owns FOX, had anything to do with not reaching a agreement with Dish.? Just talking out loud here and wondering.

in any case the judge said that the settlement didn't matter (and the settlement had included all Fox affiliates, just not the 25 Fox-owned stations). He voided the settlement, and said the Appellate ruling made it clear that this was a violation of law, with shutdown as the directed remedy. It does not sound like it would have mattered if Fox fully agreed or not.

Last I heard congress makes the laws and the courts interpret..not the other way around.? The bill imposes a large fine on Dish and forces them to keep in escrow a substantial sum to mitigate future possible violations.? This seems fair to me.? Congress is refining the law to penalize the company and not the customers.? After all suppose you are a dish customer in a rural area that gets no locals, hell even if you do get the locals why should you not be able to get satellite feeds from where ever you dam well please if you are willing to pay for them and dish negotiated contracts with them.

Just my 2 cents
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
Don, you are correct, the local channels are not affected by the court order.  They are still available to everyone.  It's only the distant network stations that are being discontinued by the order, because they were given to customers that WERE NOT QUALIFIED for them as they were able to receive their local channels via the satellite.  The whole Fox network business is only a small part of Echostar's problem.  If that were all there were to it, QUALIFIED Dish subscribers would be able to get the other 3 networks via DNS but not Fox.

DirecTV isn't affected because they only give the DNS to their QUALIFIED subscribers, according to the law.
 

Alaskansnowbirds

Site Team
Joined
Mar 11, 2005
Posts
2,985
Location
Camp Verde, AZ
Ned,

Do you have any idea who (other than truckers and RVers) would qualify for DNS anymore? DNS started back in the C Band days. Now with spot beaming of local channels I don't see where anyone in a stick house would qualify for DNS. It's hard to believe that there is any part of the U.S. that doesn't fall under some "locals" spot beam. True "mobile" users are such a small percentage of the satellite customer base that I'm surprised that DNS is still offered.

I see on another forum that Sen. Rockefeller is also getting involved. Another example of the Senate trying to fix something that isn't broken.
 

Jim Godward

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Posts
5,906
Location
Hillsboro, Oregon
Don,

Welcome to MT,  there are many places where the locals are not available by either direct or Satellite so the DNS is needed.  MT will get some relief shortly when the locals will go onto the satellite but not yet.  We have friends within 16 miles of Bozeman that can only get the Satellites but because they are in the Bozeman zip code the satellite companies will not give them DNS.  Result is they have no networks.  Tthe current criteria stink but there is no talking reason to politicians especially when it comes to engineering.  Big corporations are not much better if at all.

I'm getting close to a hot button of miine so enough!!
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
Don, it would have to be someplace that isn't covered by the spot beams, and according to Jim G., such places do exist in MT.  It's also unfortunate that some subscribers have to pay for local channels via spot beams, because they can't get the networks OTA, but that's the way the law reads.

Maybe Sen. Rockefeller can get Sen. Stephens to help out and pipe the networks through the "internet pipes" :)
 

Alaskansnowbirds

Site Team
Joined
Mar 11, 2005
Posts
2,985
Location
Camp Verde, AZ
James Godward said:
Don,

Welcome to MT,  there are many places where the locals are not available by either direct or Satellite so the DNS is needed.  MT will get some relief shortly when the locals will go onto the satellite but not yet.  We have friends within 16 miles of Bozeman that can only get the Satellites but because they are in the Bozeman zip code the satellite companies will not give them DNS.  Result is they have no networks.  The current criteria stink but there is no talking reason to politicians especially when it comes to engineering.  Big corporations are not much better if at all.

I'm getting close to a hot button of mine so enough!!

I stand corrected Jim. As long as spot beaming has been around I wasn't aware that there was any areas not covered. Even Fairbanks has a local spot beam.
 

Alaskansnowbirds

Site Team
Joined
Mar 11, 2005
Posts
2,985
Location
Camp Verde, AZ
Ned said:
Maybe Sen. Rockefeller can get Sen. Stephens to help out and pipe the networks through the "internet pipes" :)

He has done a lot of good for Alaska but I think it's time for him to retire. He wasn't up for re-election this time but in 2004 I would have voted for the Aflac Duck before I would have voted for his opponent.  ;D
 
Top Bottom