|John Hutchinson Testifies before Congress on Satellite Legislation
John Hutchinson (Hutch), Executive Vice President and COO of Local TV on Satellite (LTVS), testified as a witness in Washington before two different Congressional committees considering the satellite legislation bill last week — unlike cable, satellite currently lacks the enabling legislation that would make it practical for providers like DirecTV and EchoStar to carry the local stations.
Hutch gave the committees an overview of LTVS and reiterated that satellite companies must be allowed to compete fairly with cable TV by offering local programming to their subscribers. Surveys show that it is the lack of local TV signals via satellite that causes the majority of serious shoppers to pass on buying satellite systems today. By solving this problem, DBS (Direct Broadcast Satellite) sales could explode.
Under the LTVS plan, consumers are the big winners. Satellite subscribers would be able to get ALL the local stations in their Designated Market Area through their satellite provider, would be able to get the new HD signal when it is available, would only receive one bill, and would not need to buy and install a roof or attic antennae on their homes.
Next, Hutch addressed the technical aspects that make this technology possible.
“Two high powered satellites are to be launched in the fall of 2001. They will be co-located in the same orbital arc as today’s Direct Broadcast Satellites… like DirecTV and Echostar. Therefore, a single dish at the subscriber’s home would see both the national channels and all of the market’s own local stations– including their broadcast networks. LTVS will be the most cost-effective wholesaler to all the DBS providers with a unified platform for all to use,” John Hutchinson explains.
Hutchinson concluded his testimony with a reminder that this technology will take a couple of years to develop and implement, and urged members to pass a bill quickly because, ” LTVS can level the playing field as ‘basic cable in the sky’ with a simple ‘one dish, one box, one bill’, long-term, quality solution for subscribers who want choice.”