Executives from Dish Network and DirecTV Group told members of Congress yesterday that they would be willing to extend local service to rural areas if the right incentives were in place.
According to Reuters, the U.S. Congress is looking at renewing a law that would give the nation’s two largest satellite service providers the right to carry and retransmit broadcast television programming.
Some of the lawmakers have said that the renewal of the law should also require satellite companies to provide local service in all 210 designated market areas across the nation.
Rural residents in about 30 of those markets can’t receive local news and weather through their satellite providers.
Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen said during a subcommittee hearing that his company would be willing to carry the local programming if it gets aid to help pay for any technical fixes for retransmission.
Ergen also advocated that local TV stations that have local content be required to allow the retransmission of their content for free, or for a fixed royalty rate, while stations that don’t have local content should be excluded from the retransmission requirements, according to Reuters.
DirecTV senior vice president Bob Gabrielli said some broadcast stations have tripled the rates they charge for their local content, without the quality or quantity of local programming improving.