Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


113th Congress      }          SENATE       {             Report        
 2d Session         }                       {             113-322
______________________________________________________________________
                                 

                                                       Calendar No. 569

           SATELLITE TELEVISION ACCESS AND VIEWER RIGHTS ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 2799




               December 12, 2014.--Ordered to be printed
               
               
                   U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 

49-010 PDF                  WASHINGTON : 2014 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------              
               
               
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                    one hundred thirteenth congress
                             second session

             JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West Virginia, Chairman
 BARBARA BOXER, California            JOHN THUNE, South Dakota
 BILL NELSON, Florida                 ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi
 MARIA CANTWELL, Washington           ROY BLUNT, Missouri
 MARK PRYOR, Arkansas                 MARCO RUBIO, Florida
 CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri           KELLY AYOTTE, New Hampshire
 AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota             DEAN HELLER, Nevada
 MARK BEGICH, Alaska                  DANIEL COATS, Indiana
 RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut      TIM SCOTT, South Carolina
 BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii                 TED CRUZ, Texas
 ED MARKEY, Massachusetts             DEB FISCHER, Nebraska
 CORY BOOKER, New Jersey              RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin
 JOHN WALSH, Montana
                     Ellen Doneski, Staff Director
                     John Williams, General Counsel
              David Schwietert, Republican Staff Director
              Nick Rossi, Republican Deputy Staff Director
               Rebecca Seidel, Republican General Counsel
               
113th Congress                                                 Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                   113-322

======================================================================
 
           SATELLITE TELEVISION ACCESS AND VIEWER RIGHTS ACT

                                _______
                                

               December 12, 2014.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

     Mr. Rockefeller, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2799]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 2799) to extend the authority 
of satellite carriers to retransmit certain television 
broadcast station signals, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment (in the nature of a substitute) and recommends that 
the bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of S. 2799, the Satellite Television Access and 
Viewer Rights Act (STAVRA), as reported, is to reauthorize 
certain provisions of the Communications Act of 1934 
(Communications Act) that govern satellite retransmission of 
television broadcast signals, which are set to expire at the 
end of 2014. STAVRA also amends the Communications Act to make 
several changes to existing video policy related to the 
television markets served by satellite pay TV companies; 
retransmission consent and the related ``good faith'' rules for 
retransmission consent negotiations; the integration ban rule 
presently applicable to cable set-top boxes; and the 
administrative rules for how small cable companies file 
petitions to prove effective competition under the 
Communications Act.

                          Background and Needs

    Direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service is a nationally 
distributed subscription service that delivers video and audio 
programming over satellite to a small antenna located at a 
subscriber's residence. The Federal Communications Commission 
(FCC) first authorized the service in 1988, and DBS service 
became commercially available in 1994. Currently, there are two 
major DBS providers, DIRECTV and Dish Network.
    Over the past 20 years, subscribership to DBS service has 
grown substantially, making satellite carriers significant 
competitors to cable operators. According to the FCC's 15th 
Video Competition Report (issued in July 2013), approximately 
101 million households in the United States subscribe to a 
multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD), which 
includes cable operators, satellite carriers, and telephone 
companies offering comparable video programming services. Of 
the total number of MVPD subscribers in the United States, 34 
million households (or 33.6 percent) are satellite customers. 
Again according to the 15th Video Competition Report, DIRECTV 
is the largest DBS provider and the second largest MVPD, with 
approximately 19.9 million subscribers. Dish Network is the 
second largest DBS provider and the third largest MVPD, with 
approximately 14.1 million subscribers.
    Where satellite carriers offer their subscribers access to 
local broadcast television signals, they have been more 
successful in competing with terrestrial-based MVPDs. The 
licensing and regulatory regime that enables satellite 
operators to retransmit broadcast signals to subscribers has 
developed through a series of laws, of which the Satellite 
Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA), passed by 
Congress in 2010, was the latest.

Satellite Home Viewer Act (SHVA)

    Starting in the 1960s, the cable industry began to offer 
broadcast programming to its customers without paying broadcast 
television stations copyright royalties. To address this issue, 
Congress passed the Copyright Revision Act of 1976 (Copyright 
Act), which made cable provider retransmission of broadcast 
signals without a license a copyright violation. It also 
established a compulsory copyright license and statutory 
royalty regime to facilitate the retransmission of broadcast 
programming.
    In 1988, Congress passed SHVA, creating a similar 
compulsory copyright license in section 119 of the Copyright 
Act for satellite carriers. A significant difference was that 
the section 119 license allowed satellite carriers to 
retransmit broadcast network and superstation (e.g., WGN) 
programming only to those households unable to receive viewable 
signals using over-the-air antennas (so-called ``unserved 
households''). The reason for this limitation was to preserve 
``localism'' and to prevent non-local or ``distant'' signals 
from taking viewers away from local broadcast television 
stations that provide community-focused programming such as 
local news and weather. SHVA established a 6-year compulsory 
copyright license, under which a satellite carrier may 
retransmit distant network signals to unserved households 
without obtaining permission directly from the copyright 
owners. It also established a government-set copyright royalty 
to be paid by such carrier to reimburse the copyright holders.
    SHVA also established the ``Grade B contour'' around a 
broadcast tower as the determining factor as to whether a 
particular household was eligible to receive distant signals 
from a satellite operator. The Grade B contour of a station 
represented a prediction of the reach and coverage of a 
station's analog broadcast signal over average terrain in the 
absence of interference from other television stations. 
Individuals living inside a Grade B contour were not allowed to 
receive distant signals, while those outside the contour were 
eligible for those signals.
    Following the passage of SHVA, some satellite carriers 
began to offer distant signals to served as well as unserved 
households. Network broadcasters brought suit against one 
satellite carrier, Primetime 24, asserting that it willfully 
violated SHVA by providing distant network signals to 
households that did not meet the definition of ``unserved.'' In 
1998, the court found for the broadcasters and issued a 
permanent injunction prohibiting Primetime 24 from using the 
section 119 license to offer distant network signals. The 
injunction was to take effect in stages the following year and 
would have resulted in over 2 million subscribers who were 
illegally receiving the signals losing access to distant 
network signals. While this service was terminated for some 
subscribers, the parties agreed to postpone the termination of 
service for the remaining subscribers until the end of 1999.

Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act (SHVIA)

    By the end of 1999, Congress had passed SHVIA. SHVIA 
extended the compulsory license regime of SHVA for an 
additional five years and grandfathered certain customers who 
were illegally receiving distant signals prior to its passage. 
SHVIA also established a ``waiver process'' under which 
consumers in an unserved market who cannot receive local 
broadcast stations over-the-air, despite residing within a 
Grade B contour, may seek a waiver to receive distant signals 
from their satellite carrier.
    A significant change in SHVIA was the creation of a new, 
permanent, and free compulsory copyright license in section 122 
of the Copyright Act. The section 122 license permits satellite 
carriers to retransmit local broadcast signals back into the 
same local market from which they originated (known as ``local-
into-local service''). The local market was defined by 
reference to the Nielsen Designated Market Area (DMA). This 
provision was intended to increase competition between 
satellite and cable operators, who previously were the only pay 
TV services able to provide consumers with access to their 
local broadcast television stations. Congress determined that 
over-the-air television would not be adversely impacted by the 
new license and that advertising revenue would increase because 
more viewers would have access to local stations.
    Under section 122 (and related provisions in the 
Communications Act), satellite carriers are not required to 
provide local-into-local service to subscribers within a DMA. 
If an operator decides to provide local programming in a 
market, though, it is required to carry all the local broadcast 
stations in the market. This so-called ``carry one, carry all'' 
provision, which is codified in section 338 of the 
Communications Act, has an exception for certain duplicative 
stations and requires the broadcaster seeking carriage to 
provide a good quality signal.
    Generally, under section 325 of the Communications Act, 
cable and satellite carriers are prohibited (with some 
exceptions) from retransmitting the signal of a broadcast 
television station without the express authority of that 
station. In SHVIA, Congress exempted a satellite carrier from 
having to obtain retransmission consent with respect solely to 
distant network signals for five years. Satellite carriers, 
however, still must comply with other FCC rules and 
regulations, including the network non-duplication rule, the 
syndicated exclusivity rule, and, to the extent feasible, the 
sports blackout rule. Finally, SHVIA instituted the rule that 
broadcasters must engage in ``good faith'' negotiations to come 
to a retransmission consent agreement (a duty later extended 
equally to MVPDs in retransmission consent negotiations).

Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act (SHVERA)

    Five years later, driven by the expiration of the 
compulsory copyright licenses in section 119 of the Copyright 
Act and the retransmission consent exemption in section 325 of 
the Communications Act, Congress passed SHVERA, which was 
enacted on December 8, 2004. In addition to extending the 
distant signal license and the retransmission consent exemption 
for distant signals until December 31, 2009, SHVERA 
acknowledged that stations were starting to transition to 
digital broadcasting. In particular, Congress directed the FCC 
to study and report on a digital signal strength standard as 
well as testing procedures for digital over-the-air broadcast 
television signals (meant eventually to replace the standards 
and procedures for analog over-the-air signals).
    SHVERA also established a regime for the delivery of 
certain ``significantly viewed'' signals to consumers living in 
a DMA adjacent to the DMA from which a signal originated. 
``Significantly viewed'' means a TV station has a significant 
level of viewers in an area outside of the station's local 
market. Being designated as ``significantly viewed'' gives a 
station the right to seek carriage by pay TV providers in an 
area outside of its home market without violating another 
station's market exclusivity rights. The FCC maintains a list 
of significantly viewed stations. Stations may be added to or 
removed from that list on a community-by-community basis. Under 
SHVIA, broadcast signals originating from neighboring DMAs 
would not be considered local even if members of a community 
could view them over the air. SHVERA created a copyright 
license that gives satellite carriers the option to offer 
subscribers signals from an adjacent DMA, if they live in a 
community that meets the ``significantly viewed'' definition. 
SHVERA also granted satellite carriers retransmission rights 
for such ``significantly viewed'' signals.
    In addition, SHVERA sought to rationalize a patchwork of 
local and distant network signal services that grew as 
satellite carriers offered local-into-local service in more 
markets. It did so by establishing a framework for when 
subscribers were eligible to receive distant versus local 
signals. For example, in areas where local signals were 
offered, certain subscribers who illegally received distant 
signals prior to SHVIA had to elect whether to receive local or 
distant network signals. They could no longer receive both. In 
comparison, with limited exceptions, new customers in markets 
where local-into-local service is offered may only receive 
local signals. In effect, SHVERA formalized what is commonly 
known as the ``if local, no distant'' rule - namely that a DBS 
subscriber who has available local-into-local service pursuant 
to the Communications and Copyright Acts is not eligible to 
receive distant signals.
    On June 12, 2009, the nation's full power television 
stations ceased analog broadcasts and began broadcasting only 
digital signals. This shift necessitated a series of amendments 
to the Communications Act to both remove references to analog 
broadcast television signals and to ensure that the FCC 
adjusted its rules related to the retransmission of digital 
broadcast signals in a timely manner. The shift to digital 
broadcasting also informed Congress's development of its SHVERA 
reauthorization legislation.

Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA)

    After a series of short-term extensions to SHVERA, Congress 
passed STELA on May 12, 2010. STELA extended both the 
compulsory copyright license in section 119 of the Copyright 
Act and the expiring elements of section 325 (the exemption 
from retransmission consent for distant signals and the good 
faith requirement for retransmission consent negotiations) of 
the Communications Act until December 31, 2014.
    STELA also made various updates to existing law to reflect 
the transition of full-power television stations from analog to 
digital broadcasts. It directed the FCC to update its testing 
models to determine which subscribers are eligible for distant 
signals, including giving the FCC the flexibility to alter the 
antenna standard used in its testing model (in the past, the 
FCC was required to base the model on the presumed use of a 30-
foot outdoor antenna by consumers). It also created new 
incentives for satellite TV providers to enhance consumer 
access to public television programming. Finally, STELA updated 
certain exceptions to the ``if local, no distant'' principle.
    STELA also rationalized several other aspects of copyright 
law. Specifically, STELA altered the definition of unserved 
household to protect multicast channels transmitting network 
programming in a local market from duplication by a distant 
signal, as well as assisting satellite TV providers to import a 
distant signal into ``short markets'' where they are otherwise 
providing local-into-local service. Short markets are DMAs that 
lack one or more local TV network affiliates. STELA permits a 
DBS provider to import a distant signal to fill in for the 
missing local affiliate. It also resolved issues surrounding 
situations where a signal ``bleeds over'' from an adjacent 
market and prevents some consumers from receiving broadcast 
signals to which they would otherwise be entitled. Finally, 
STELA revised the carriage rules for significantly viewed 
signals to enhance access to those signals on satellite pay TV 
systems.
    Separately, STELA addressed an issue pertaining to the 
ability of DISH Network to provide distant network television 
signals under the section 119 copyright license. In 2003, DISH 
Network was permanently enjoined from utilizing the section 119 
license due to failures to comply with the restrictions on 
delivery of those signals only to eligible consumers. That 
injunction was later upheld on appeal. STELA created a process 
through which DISH Network could resume service under the 
section 119 license (vitiating the injunction). That process 
required DISH Network to deliver local-into-local service in 
all 210 DMAs. DISH Network began to offer that service not long 
after STELA's passage, and presently is permitted once again to 
provide distant signals under the section 119 license.
    Finally, STELA included additional provisions designed to 
enhance access to local TV programming on satellite systems. 
First, STELA instructed the FCC to conduct a study of the 
current DMA system, including the extent to which consumers in 
each local market have access to in-State broadcast 
programming. Second, STELA directed satellite carriers to 
submit annual local network channel broadcast reports and study 
what incentives would induce satellite carriers to provide 
local service to every market in the country. Third, STELA 
required the Comptroller General to prepare a report on the 
changes to communications laws and regulations that would be 
necessary or beneficial to consumers should Congress phase-out 
the statutory licensing requirements set forth under sections 
111, 119, and 122 of the Copyright Act.

                         Summary of Provisions

    S. 2799, STAVRA, would amend the Communications Act to 
extend for five years various provisions set to expire at the 
end of 2014. Specifically, retransmission of distant television 
broadcast network signals would continue to be exempt from the 
retransmission consent process. In addition, STAVRA would renew 
the reciprocal obligation for both MVPDs and broadcast 
television stations to negotiate retransmission consent in good 
faith. Finally, STAVRA would continue to ban broadcast 
television stations from granting exclusive retransmission 
consent rights to an MVPD.
    STAVRA also proposes a number of changes to video policy 
under the Communications Act. First, STAVRA would create a 
television market modification process for satellite carriers 
similar to the one already used for cable operators and 
governed by the FCC under section 614(h) of the Communications 
Act. Second, it would bar the practice of joint retransmission 
consent negotiations by independent broadcast television 
stations in the same market, prohibit the use of retransmission 
consent agreements to limit the ability of an MVPD to carry 
other broadcast television signals they are otherwise 
authorized to carry under the Communications Act (such as 
importing significantly viewed TV signals, distant signals, or 
signals added to a TV market through the market modification 
process), and direct the FCC to consider additional changes to 
its rules that govern retransmission consent negotiations as 
part of a rulemaking to update its totality of the 
circumstances test for good faith. Third, STAVRA proposes to 
provide additional transparency on how retransmission consent 
costs affect cable rates as part of the FCC's yearly cable 
rates report. Fourth, STAVRA would sunset the FCC's existing 
``integration ban'' related to set-top boxes rented from a 
cable operator two years after STAVRA's passage, while 
establishing a working group overseen by the FCC to consider 
technical standards for a next-generation set-top box security 
architecture meant to help foster increased retail set-top box 
competition. Fifth, STAVRA would direct the FCC to consider 
changes to the administrative rules for the filing of petitions 
to prove effective competition by small cable companies, while 
preserving the obligation of the cable company to actually 
prove that such competition exists. Finally, STAVRA would 
require the FCC to produce a report on the current DMA system 
and alternatives to such system, including examination of local 
programming in States that are served entirely by DMAs which 
are not principally located in such State.

                          Legislative History

    In the 113th Congress, the Satellite Television Access and 
Viewer Rights Act (S. 2799) was introduced by Senator 
Rockefeller on September 11, 2014, and referred to the Senate 
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The bill is 
co-sponsored by Senator Thune. On April 1, 2014, the 
Committee's Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the 
Internet held a hearing on ``Reauthorization of the Satellite 
Television Extension and Localism Act.''
    On September 17, 2014, the Committee considered the bill, 
as amended in the nature of a substitute, in an open Executive 
Session. Senator Pryor offered an amendment to require the FCC 
to make information about the market modification process 
available to consumers on its website. Senator Booker, on 
behalf of himself and Senator Fischer, offered an amendment to 
require a report by the FCC on designated market areas. Senator 
Pryor's and Senator Booker's amendments were adopted, as 
modified, by unanimous consent. The Committee, without 
objection, ordered that S. 2799, as amended, be reported.

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

S. 2799--Satellite Television Access and Viewer Rights Act

    Summary: Under current law, satellite carriers pay royalty 
fees for the right to transmit certain television signals to 
their subscribers without obtaining permission from copyright 
holders. S. 2799 would extend provisions of current law that 
allow satellite carriers to transmit copyrighted material but 
would not extend the license that allows transmission without 
specific authorization from the copyright holders. That license 
will expire on December 31, 2014. The bill also would direct 
the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to amend certain 
regulations affecting television stations and cable and 
satellite carriers.
    Implementing S. 2799 would have a negligible net effect on 
discretionary spending over the 2015-2019 period, CBO 
estimates. Enacting S. 2799 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    S. 2799 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would not affect 
the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments. S. 2799 
contains private-sector mandates, as defined in UMRA, on 
television broadcasters, cable operators, and satellite 
carriers. CBO estimates that the aggregate cost of the mandates 
in the bill would fall below the annual threshold established 
in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($152 million in 2014, 
adjusted annually for inflation).
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: Based on 
information from the FCC, CBO estimates that implementing S. 
2799 would cost about $2 million over the 2015-2019 period for 
the required reports and regulatory actions, assuming the 
availability of appropriated funds. Further, the FCC is 
authorized to collect fees to offset its operating costs each 
year; therefore, we estimate that implementing S. 2799 would 
have a negligible effect on net discretionary spending each 
year.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 2799 
contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in UMRA and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    S. 2799 contains private-sector mandates, as defined in 
UMRA, on television broadcasters, cable operators, and 
satellite carriers. It would extend existing mandates and 
impose new ones related to the retransmission of broadcast 
programs. The cost of complying with those mandates would be 
any net income forgone. Based on information from the FCC and 
industry sources, CBO estimates that the aggregate cost of the 
mandates in the bill would fall below the annual threshold 
established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($152 million 
in 2014, adjusted annually for inflation).
    The bill would extend for five years three existing 
mandates related to the retransmission of broadcast programs. 
It would extend the mandate on television broadcasters that 
prohibits them from receiving compensation from satellite 
carriers for retransmitting distant (non-local) network signals 
to subscribers who cannot receive the signals of local network 
affiliates. Second, it would extend the mandate on television 
broadcasters that prohibits them from entering into certain 
exclusive contracts for the rights to carry (retransmit) their 
programs. The bill also would extend the mandate on 
broadcasters, cable operators, and satellite carriers that 
requires them to negotiate retransmission agreements in good 
faith. Based on information from industry sources, CBO 
estimates that the cost of extending those mandates would be 
small.
    The bill would impose two additional mandates related to 
negotiating agreements for retransmitting broadcast programs. 
It would prohibit television broadcasters from engaging in 
coordinated or joint negotiations with other television 
broadcasters in the same local market for the retransmission of 
their broadcast programs. The prohibition would not apply to 
broadcast stations in the same market under common control. 
Current law prohibits such joint negotiations among the top 
four stations in a local market. According to industry sources, 
the broader ban in the bill would affect only a small number of 
stations, and would be unlikely to have a large cost. The bill 
also would prohibit local broadcasters from using 
retransmission agreements to limit the ability of cable 
operators or satellite carriers to retransmit other broadcast 
signals they are authorized to carry. The existing standards 
for good faith negotiations tend to discourage such behavior 
and industry experts find limited evidence of such practices. 
Therefore, CBO estimates that the cost of this mandate would be 
small.
    Previous CBO estimates: On June 3, 2014, CBO transmitted a 
cost estimate for H.R. 4572, the STELA Reauthorization Act of 
2014, as ordered reported by the House Committee on Energy and 
Commerce on May 9, 2014. H.R. 4572 would extend provisions of 
current law that allow satellite carriers to transmit 
copyrighted material but would not extend the license that 
allows such transmission without permission from the copyright 
holders. CBO estimated that implementing H.R. 4572 would cost 
about $1 million over the 2015-2019 period, assuming 
appropriation of the necessary amounts, for reports and 
regulatory actions by the Federal Communications Commission.
    On July 17, 2014, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 
5036, the Satellite Television Access Reauthorization Act of 
2014, as ordered reported by the House Committee on the 
Judiciary on July 10, 2014. H.R. 5036 would extend the 
statutory license that allows transmission of television 
signals that are copyrighted without first obtaining permission 
from the copyright holder. CBO estimated that implementing H.R. 
5036 would have an insignificant effect on the federal budget.
    On July 3, 2014, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for S. 
2454, the Satellite Television Reauthorization Act of 2014, as 
ordered reported by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on 
June 26, 2014. S. 2454 would extend the statutory license that 
allows transmission of television signals that are copyrighted 
without first obtaining permission from the copyright holder. 
CBO estimated that implementing S. 2454 would have an 
insignificant effect on the federal budget.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Susan Willie; Impact 
on state, local, and tribal governments: Melissa Merrell; 
Impact on the private sector: Tristan Hanon.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                           Regulatory Impact

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       number of persons covered

    S. 2799 would reauthorize and amend certain provisions of 
the Communications Act that govern satellite retransmission of 
television broadcast signals. It also would amend various 
existing statutes and rules governing existing video policy. 
The bill would affect broadcasters and multichannel video 
programming distributors (e.g. cable and satellite operators) 
already subject to these obligations under the Communication 
Act, and, therefore, the number of persons covered should be 
consistent with the current levels of individuals impacted 
under the provisions that are addressed in the bill.

                            economic impact

    S. 2799 would not have an adverse impact on the Nation's 
economy.

                                privacy

    The reported bill would have no impact on the personal 
privacy of U.S. citizens.

                               paperwork

    The reported bill would not significantly increase 
paperwork requirements for individuals and businesses.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title.

    Section 1 would provide that the legislation may be cited 
as the ``Satellite Television Access and Viewer Rights Act.''

Section 2. References to Communications Act of 1934.

    Section 2 would provide that wherever in STAVRA an 
amendment or repeal is expressed as an amendment to, or repeal 
of, a section, that reference shall be considered to be made to 
a section or other provision of the Communications Act.

                     Title I. Satellite television.


Section 101. Extension of authority.

    Section 101 of the bill would amend section 325(b) of the 
Communications Act to extend for five years 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. The section 
also would extend the provisions in the Communications Act 
requiring that retransmission consent negotiations be in good 
faith and prohibiting exclusive carriage deals by local 
broadcast television stations.

Section 102. Modification of television markets to further consumer 
        access to relevant television programming.

    Section 102(a) of the bill would amend section 338 of the 
Communications Act to create a television market modification 
process for satellite carriers. It would add to section 338 a 
definition of designated market area (defined as the DMAs 
determined by Nielsen Media Research) and local market (which 
is a television broadcast station's DMA and includes any 
modifications made to a commercial television broadcast 
station's market under the market modification process).
    Section 102(a) of the bill would then add a new subsection 
(l) to section 338 of the Communications Act. This new 
subsection would create a written petition process whereby the 
FCC could modify the local market of a commercial television 
broadcast station for purposes of carriage by a satellite 
carrier. Such petitions could be used to add or subtract 
communities from the local market of a commercial television 
broadcast station. As part of the review of a market 
modification request, the FCC may determine that a community is 
part of more than one local market. The FCC must grant or deny 
a modification request within 120 days of its filing.
    The Committee intends that the process established by the 
FCC under the authority granted by section 102(a) of the bill 
should be modeled upon the television market modification 
process established by the FCC under section 614(h). In judging 
the merits of a petition filed under new section 338(l), the 
FCC must afford particular attention to the value of localism. 
In so doing, it must consider the following factors: (1) 
whether the television station, or others in the same area, 
have historically been carried on the cable or satellite pay TV 
providers serving such community; (2) whether the television 
station provides coverage or other local service to such 
community; (3) whether modifying the local market of the 
television station would promote consumers' access to 
television broadcast station signals that originate in their 
State of residence; (4) whether any other television station 
eligible to be carried by a satellite carrier in such community 
provides news coverage of issues of concern to that community 
or provides coverage of sports or other events of interest to 
the community; and (5) evidence of viewing patterns in 
households that do and do not subscribe to MVPD services in 
that community.
    The Committee is aware that many consumers, particularly 
those who reside in DMAs that cross State lines or cover vast 
geographic distances, have expressed concerns that they lack 
access to local television programming that is relevant to 
their everyday lives. The Committee intends that the FCC should 
consider the plight of these consumers when judging the merits 
of a petition filed under the process created by this 
subsection (as well as a petition filed using the process 
already in place for cable operators under section 614(h)) of 
the Communications Act, even if granting such modification 
would pose an economic challenge to various local television 
broadcast stations.
    The Committee also is aware that local television market 
determinations in Alaska, particularly with respect to the 
white spaces in that State presently unassigned to a specific 
DMA, pose their own unique challenges. The Committee does not 
intend for this subsection to displace the present system for 
assigning such areas in Alaska to DMAs pursuant to section 119 
of title 17, United States Code.
    A market determination under section 102(a) of the bill 
shall not create additional carriage obligations for a 
satellite carrier if it is not technically and economically 
feasible for such carrier to accomplish that carriage by means 
of its satellites in operation at the time the petition was 
filed. Additionally, a satellite carrier may not delete from 
carriage the signal of a commercial television broadcast 
station during the pendency of a proceeding under subsection 
338(l). The Committee recognizes that there are technical and 
operational differences that may make a particular television 
market modification difficult for a satellite carrier to 
effectuate; the Committee believes, though, that claims of the 
existence of such difficulties should be well substantiated and 
carefully examined by the FCC as part of the petition 
consideration process. The Committee also intends that a 
petitioner may refile its petition if at a later time a 
satellite carrier has deployed new satellites that could change 
this feasibility determination.
    Finally, a market modification under new section 338(l) of 
the Communications Act shall not have any effect on the 
eligibility of households in the community affected by such 
modification to receive distant signals pursuant to section 339 
of the Communications Act.
    Section 102(b) of the bill would make several conforming 
amendments to section 614(h) of the Communications Act, which 
governs television market modifications for cable operators.
    Section 102(c) of the bill would direct the FCC, as part of 
its rulemaking to implement section 102, to make sure that the 
procedures for the filing and consideration of a written market 
modification request fully effectuate the purposes of the 
amendments made by section 102. Additionally, as part of that 
rulemaking, the FCC shall update what it considers to be a 
community for purposes of the filing of a television market 
modification petition. The Committee intends for the FCC, when 
examining what it considers to be a community, to consider 
alternative definitions for community that could make the 
market modification process more effective and useful.
    Section 102(d) of the bill would require the FCC to make 
information available to consumers on its website regarding the 
television market modification processes under sections 338 and 
614(h) of the Communications Act. The information posted on the 
FCC's website must include details on who may petition for a 
television market modification and the factors that the FCC 
considers when reviewing such petition.

                    Title II. Video policy reforms.


Section 201. Consumer protections in retransmission consent.

    Section 201(a) of the bill would amend section 325(b) of 
the Communications Act to bar television broadcast stations in 
the same local market from coordinating negotiations for 
retransmission consent, or negotiating retransmission consent 
on a joint basis, unless such stations are directly or 
indirectly under common de jure control permitted under the 
FCC's regulations. The Committee intends that stations who are 
considered under ``de facto'' control of another station owner 
under the FCC's regulations, such as those situations where 
ownership of a station is attributed to another due to the use 
of joint sales agreements, local marketing agreements, or other 
sharing agreements, do not fall within the scope of the 
exception set forth in section 201(a) and section 201(b) for 
stations under ``common de jure control.''
    In addition, the Committee intends that the exception for 
stations under ``common de jure control'' when ``permitted 
under the regulations of the FCC,'' should ensure that only 
those stations in compliance with the Commission's ownership 
rules may negotiate jointly for retransmission consent. For 
example, if two or more stations are considered commonly owned 
under the attribution rules but such common ownership violates 
the FCC's ownership rules such that the arrangement must be 
ended unless the FCC grants a waiver of its rules, it is the 
intent of the Committee that neither of those stations should 
be permitted by section 201(a) to negotiate jointly for 
retransmission consent, or utilize the exception set forth in 
section 201(b), even if the FCC has granted a temporary 
transition period for such combinations to come into compliance 
with its rules.
    Section 201(b) of the bill would further amend section 
325(b) of the Communications Act to prohibit a television 
broadcast station, in its local market, from limiting the 
ability of an MVPD to carry a television signal that has been 
deemed significantly viewed under the FCC's rules, or any other 
television broadcast signal that such MVPD is authorized to 
carry under sections 338, 339, 340, and 614 of the 
Communications Act. This prohibition does not apply to stations 
that are directly or indirectly under common de jure control 
permitted under the FCC's regulations. The Committee intends 
this provision to be interpreted broadly by the FCC to ensure 
that a television broadcast station is not able to limit MVPD 
carriage of signals that it is permitted to carry pursuant to 
the Communications Act. The Committee does not intend, though, 
for this provision to alter, expand, or otherwise change what 
broadcast television station signals a satellite carrier or 
cable operator is permitted to carry under the Communications 
Act.
    Section 201(c) of the bill would direct the FCC to conduct 
a rulemaking to review and update its totality of the 
circumstances test for good faith negotiations under section 
325(b) of the Communications Act. Specifically, the FCC shall 
make sure that its test encourages both parties to a 
retransmission consent negotiation to present bona fide 
proposals on the material terms of a retransmission consent 
agreement during negotiations and engage in timely negotiations 
to reach an agreement.
    The Committee intends that the rulemaking directed by 
section 201(c) of the bill should be used to update the FCC's 
totality of the circumstances test so that the test will take a 
broad look at all facets of how both television broadcast 
station owners and MVPDs approach retransmission consent 
negotiations to make sure that the tactics engaged in by both 
parties meet the good faith standard set forth in the 
Communications Act. Evidence collected by the Committee 
suggests that the negotiations surrounding retransmission 
consent have become significantly more complex in recent years, 
and that in some cases one or both parties to a negotiation may 
be engaging in tactics that push those negotiations toward a 
breakdown and result in consumer harm from programming 
blackouts. The Committee expects the FCC's totality of the 
circumstances test to include a robust examination of 
negotiating practices, including whether certain substantive 
terms offered by a party may increase the likelihood of the 
negotiations breaking down. The Committee also expects that the 
test should examine the practices engaged in by both parties if 
negotiations have broken down and a retransmission consent 
agreement has expired.
    The Committee believes that it may be appropriate for the 
FCC to provide additional specific guidance as to actions that, 
taken as a whole, evidence bad faith based on the totality of 
the circumstances. Such guidance would help provide more 
certainty to the parties to a negotiation and ultimately give 
consumers greater faith in the retransmission consent process.
    The Committee also expects as part of this rulemaking that 
the FCC would examine the role digital rights and online video 
programming have begun to play in retransmission consent 
negotiations. The Committee is concerned by reports that 
parties in retransmission consent negotiations have begun to 
block access to online programming during those negotiations or 
after a retransmission consent agreement has expired and a 
blackout has occurred, including for consumers of a MVPD who 
subscribe only to the broadband service offered by such MVPD. 
Finally, the Committee intends, as part of this rulemaking, for 
the FCC to examine whether its current process for filing bad 
faith allegations based on the totality of the circumstances 
test is effective and actually helps to promote bona fide 
negotiations and protect consumers.

Section 202. Update to cable rates report.

    Section 202 of the bill would amend section 623(k) of the 
Communications Act to include in the FCC's yearly cable rates 
report specific information about the aggregate average total 
amount paid by cable systems in compensation to television 
broadcast stations under section 325 of the Communications Act. 
This information shall be published in a manner substantially 
similar to the way other information, such as monthly prices 
for basic cable service and other cable programming, is 
published in the FCC's annual report.
    All signals carried under section 325 are required by law 
to be included on a cable system's basic service tier. Further, 
all cable subscribers are required by law to purchase the basic 
service tier. For these reasons, the Committee finds that 
including information regarding compensation under section 325 
in the FCC's annual cable rates report is important for 
consumers, policymakers, and industry participants.
    The Committee intends that information included under 
section 202 show how compensation under section 325 has changed 
or may change over time. In implementing section 202 and 
thereafter, the Committee therefore intends that the FCC 
include compensation under section 325 for as many prior 
periods as it determines such information is attainable without 
unnecessary burden.

Section 203. Competitive device availability.

    Section 203(a) of the bill would provide that the second 
sentence of section 76.1204(a)(1) of title 47 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations (commonly referred to as the cable set-top 
box integration ban) would terminate effective two years from 
the date of STAVRA's enactment. Not later than 180 days after 
that date, the FCC must revise its regulations to strike that 
sentence from its rules and make any necessary conforming 
amendments to its rules. The Committee intends that nothing in 
section 203(a) shall affect in any way the underlying authority 
held by the FCC under section 629 of the Communications Act to 
take steps to promote a competitive retail set-top box 
marketplace.
    Section 203(b) of the bill would direct the FCC to convene 
a working group of technical experts from a variety of 
stakeholders to identify, report, and recommend performance and 
technical standards for a software-based downloadable security 
system in order to promote the competitive availability of set-
top boxes, including boxes from third parties available at 
retail. Such system must be not unduly burdensome, uniform, and 
technology- and platform-neutral. The working group must hold 
its initial meeting within 180 days of STAVRA's enactment, and 
file a report on its work with the FCC within 540 days of 
STAVRA's enactment. The Chairman of the FCC may appoint a FCC 
staff member to moderate and direct the work of the working 
group and provide technical assistance to the working group's 
members.

Section 204. Administrative reforms to effective competition petitions.

    Section 204 of the bill would amend section 623 of the 
Communications Act to direct the FCC to complete a rulemaking 
within 180 days of the enactment of STAVRA to establish a 
streamlined process for small cable operators, particularly 
those who serve primarily rural areas, to file petitions for 
effective competition under that section. Nothing in section 
204, however, shall be construed to have any effect on the 
obligation of small cable operators filing petitions to prove 
the existence of effective competition pursuant to section 623 
of the Communications Act.

Section 205. Report on designated market areas.

    Section 205 of the bill would direct the FCC, within 18 
months of the enactment of STAVRA, to submit a report to 
various named congressional committees on DMAs. That report 
must include an analysis of (1) the extent to which consumers 
have access to programming from television broadcast stations 
located outside their local television market; (2) whether 
there are alternatives to the DMA system that would provide 
consumers with more local programming options; and (3) the 
impact such alternatives to the DMA system could have on 
localism, as well as broadcast television locally, regionally, 
and nationally.
    The report also must contain recommendations on how to 
foster increased localism in counties served by out-of-State 
DMAs. In making these recommendations, the FCC must consider 
(1) the impact DMAs that cross State lines have on access to 
local programming; (2) the impact DMAs have on local 
programming in rural areas; and (3) the state of local 
programming in States served exclusively by out-of-State DMAs.
    The Committee intends that the FCC's report will interpret 
local programming to include not only television programming 
(in particular news, sports, weather, and other programming 
containing content relevant to a consumer's daily life) 
originating from and about the DMA in which a consumer resides, 
but also television programming originating from and about the 
State in which a consumer resides. The Committee also intends 
that the analysis concerning alternatives to the DMA system 
should explore in detail the merits and advantages to those 
alternatives to consumers, and not just the impact those 
alternatives may have on broadcast television.

                       Title III. Miscellaneous.


Section 301. Implementation.

    Section 301 of the bill would direct the FCC to prescribe 
regulations to implement the requirements of this Act, or any 
amendments made by this Act, within 270 days of its enactment, 
except as otherwise expressly provided in this Act.

Section 302. Severability.

    Section 302 of the bill would provide that if any provision 
or application of a provision is held unconstitutional, the 
remainder of this Act, the amendments made by the Act, and the 
application of such provisions shall not be affected thereby.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
material is printed in italic, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                       COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934


                        [47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.]

SEC. 325. FALSE, FRAUDULENT, OR UNAUTHORIZED TRANSMISSIONS.

                            [47 U.S.C. 325]

  (a) False Distress Signals; Rebroadcasting Programs.--No 
person within the jurisdiction of the United States shall 
knowingly utter or transmit, or cause to be uttered or 
transmitted, any false or fraudulent signal of distress, or 
communication relating thereto, nor shall any broadcasting 
station rebroadcast the program or any part thereof of another 
broadcasting station without the express authority of the 
originating station.
  (b) Consent to Retransmission of Broadcasting Station 
Signals.--
          (1) No cable system or other multichannel video 
        programming distributor shall retransmit the signal of 
        a broadcasting station, or any part thereof, except--
                  (A) with the express authority of the 
                originating station;
                  (B) under section 614, in the case of a 
                station electing, in accordance with this 
                subsection, to assert the right to carriage 
                under such section; or
                  (C) under section 338, in the case of a 
                station electing, in accordance with this 
                subsection, to assert the right to carriage 
                under such section.
          (2) This subsection shall not apply--
                  (A) to retransmission of the signal of a 
                noncommercial television broadcast station;
                  (B) to retransmission of the signal of a 
                television broadcast station outside the 
                station's local market by a satellite carrier 
                directly to its subscribers, if--
                          (i) such station was a superstation 
                        on May 1, 1991;
                          (ii) as of July 1, 1998, such station 
                        was retransmitted by a satellite 
                        carrier under the statutory license of 
                        section 119 of title 17, United States 
                        Code; and
                          (iii) the satellite carrier complies 
                        with any network nonduplication, 
                        syndicated exclusivity, and sports 
                        blackout rules adopted by the 
                        Commission under section 339(b) of this 
                        Act;
                  (C) until [December 31, 2014] December 31, 
                2019, to retransmission of the signals of 
                network stations directly to a home satellite 
                antenna, if the subscriber receiving the 
                signal--
                          (i) is located in an area outside the 
                        local market of such stations; and
                          (ii) resides in an unserved 
                        household;
                  (D) to retransmission by a cable operator or 
                other multichannel video provider, other than a 
                satellite carrier, of the signal of a 
                television broadcast station outside the 
                station's local market if such signal was 
                obtained from a satellite carrier and--
                          (i) the originating station was a 
                        superstation on May 1, 1991; and
                          (ii) as of July 1, 1998, such station 
                        was retransmitted by a satellite 
                        carrier under the statutory license of 
                        section 119 of title 17, United States 
                        Code; or
                  (E) during the 6-month period beginning on 
                the date of the enactment of the Satellite Home 
                Viewer Improvement Act of 1999, to the 
                retransmission of the signal of a television 
                broadcast station within the station's local 
                market by a satellite carrier directly to its 
                subscribers under the statutory license of 
                section 122 of title 17, United States Code.
For purposes of this paragraph, the terms ``satellite carrier'' 
and ``superstation'' have the meanings given those terms, 
respectively, in section 119(d) of title 17, United States 
Code, as in effect on the date of the enactment of the Cable 
Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, the 
term ``unserved household'' has the meaning given that term 
under section 119(d) of such title, and the term ``local 
market'' has the meaning given that term in section 122(j) of 
such title.
          (3)
                  (A) Within 45 days after the date of 
                enactment of the Cable Television Consumer 
                Protection and Competition Act of 1992, the 
                Commission shall commence a rulemaking 
                proceeding to establish regulations to govern 
                the exercise by television broadcast stations 
                of the right to grant retransmission consent 
                under this subsection and of the right to 
                signal carriage under section 614, and such 
                other regulations as are necessary to 
                administer the limitations contained in 
                paragraph (2). The Commission shall consider in 
                such proceeding the impact that the grant of 
                retransmission consent by television stations 
                may have on the rates for the basic service 
                tier and shall ensure that the regulations 
                prescribed under this subsection do not 
                conflict with the Commission's obligation under 
                section 623(b)(1) to ensure that the rates for 
                the basic service tier are reasonable. Such 
                rulemaking proceeding shall be completed within 
                180 days after the date of enactment of the 
                Cable Television Consumer Protection and 
                Competition Act of 1992.
                  (B) The regulations required by subparagraph 
                (A) shall require that television stations, 
                within one year after the date of enactment of 
                the Cable Television Consumer Protection and 
                Competition Act of 1992 and every three years 
                thereafter, make an election between the right 
                to grant retransmission consent under this 
                subsection and the right to signal carriage 
                under section 614. If there is more than one 
                cable system which services the same geographic 
                area, a station's election shall apply to all 
                such cable systems.
                  (C) The Commission shall commence a 
                rulemaking proceeding to revise the regulations 
                governing the exercise by television broadcast 
                stations of the right to grant retransmission 
                consent under this subsection, and such other 
                regulations as are necessary to administer the 
                limitations contained in paragraph (2). Such 
                regulations shall--
                          (i) establish election time periods 
                        that correspond with those regulations 
                        adopted under subparagraph (B) of this 
                        paragraph;
                          (ii) until [January 1, 2015] January 
                        1, 2020, prohibit a television 
                        broadcast station that provides 
                        retransmission consent from engaging in 
                        exclusive contracts for carriage or 
                        failing to negotiate in good faith, and 
                        it shall not be a failure to negotiate 
                        in good faith if the television 
                        broadcast station enters into 
                        retransmission consent agreements 
                        containing different terms and 
                        conditions, including price terms, with 
                        different multichannel video 
                        programming distributors if such 
                        different terms and conditions are 
                        based on competitive marketplace 
                        considerations[; and]
                          (iii) until [January 1, 2015] January 
                        1, 2020, prohibit a multichannel video 
                        programming distributor from failing to 
                        negotiate in good faith for 
                        retransmission consent under this 
                        section, and it shall not be a failure 
                        to negotiate in good faith if the 
                        distributor enters into retransmission 
                        consent agreements containing different 
                        terms and conditions, including price 
                        terms, with different broadcast 
                        stations if such different terms and 
                        conditions are based on competitive 
                        marketplace considerations[.];
                          (iv) prohibit a television broadcast 
                        station from coordinating negotiations 
                        or negotiating on a joint basis with 
                        another television broadcast station in 
                        the same local market (as defined in 
                        section 338 of this Act) to grant 
                        retransmission consent under this 
                        section to a multichannel video 
                        programming distributor, unless such 
                        stations are directly or indirectly 
                        under common de jure control permitted 
                        under the regulations of the Federal 
                        Communications Commission; and
                          (v) prohibit a television broadcast 
                        station from limiting the ability of a 
                        multichannel video programming 
                        distributor to carry a television 
                        signal that has been deemed 
                        significantly viewed, within the 
                        meaning of section 76.54 of title 47, 
                        Code of Federal Regulations, or any 
                        successor regulation, or any other 
                        television broadcast signal such 
                        distributor is authorized to carry 
                        under section 338, 339, 340, or 614 of 
                        this Act, into the local market of such 
                        station, unless such stations are 
                        directly or indirectly under common de 
                        jure control permitted by the 
                        Commission.
                  (D) Update to good faith rules.--The 
                Commission shall commence a rulemaking to 
                review and update its totality of the 
                circumstances test for good faith negotiations. 
                As part of that rulemaking, the Commission 
                shall ensure that such test encourages parties 
                to a retransmission consent negotiation to 
                present bona fide proposals on the material 
                terms of a retransmission consent agreement 
                during negotiations and engage in timely 
                negotiations to reach an agreement.
          (4) If an originating television station elects under 
        paragraph (3)(B) to exercise its right to grant 
        retransmission consent under this subsection with 
        respect to a cable system, the provisions of section 
        614 shall not apply to the carriage of the signal of 
        such station by such cable system. If an originating 
        television station elects under paragraph (3)(C) to 
        exercise its right to grant retransmission consent 
        under this subsection with respect to a satellite 
        carrier, section 338 shall not apply to the carriage of 
        the signal of such station by such satellite carrier.
          (5) The exercise by a television broadcast station of 
        the right to grant retransmission consent under this 
        subsection shall not interfere with or supersede the 
        rights under section 338, 614, or 615 of any station 
        electing to assert the right to signal carriage under 
        that section.
          (6) Nothing in this section shall be construed as 
        modifying the compulsory copyright license established 
        in section 111 of title 17, United States Code, or as 
        affecting existing or future video programming 
        licensing agreements between broadcasting stations and 
        video programmers.
          (7) For purposes of this subsection, the term--
                  (A) ``network station'' has the meaning given 
                such term under section 119(d) of title 17, 
                United States Code; and
                  (B) ``television broadcast station'' means an 
                over-the-air commercial or noncommercial 
                television broadcast station licensed by the 
                Commission under subpart E of part 73 of title 
                47, Code of Federal Regulations, except that 
                such term does not include a low-power or 
                translator television station.
  (c) Broadcast to Foreign Countries for Rebroadcast to United 
States; Permit.--No person shall be permitted to locate, use, 
or maintain a radio broadcast studio or other place or 
apparatus from which or whereby sound waves are converted into 
electrical energy, or mechanical or physical reproduction of 
sound waves produced, and cause to be transmitted or delivered 
to a radio station in a foreign country for the purpose of 
being broadcast from any radio station there having a power 
output of sufficient intensity and/or being so located 
geographically that its emissions may be received consistently 
in the United States, without first obtaining a permit from the 
Commission upon proper application therefor.
  (d) Application for Permit.--Such application shall contain 
such information as the Commission may by regulation prescribe, 
and the granting or refusal thereof shall be subject to the 
requirements of section 309 hereof with respect to applications 
for station licenses or renewal or modification thereof, and 
the license or permission so granted shall be revocable for 
false statements in the application so required or when the 
Commission, after hearings, shall find its continuation no 
longer in the public interest.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 338. CARRIAGE OF LOCAL TELEVISION SIGNALS BY SATELLITE CARRIERS.

                            [47 U.S.C. 338]

  (a) Carriage obligations.
          (1) In general.--Each satellite carrier providing, 
        under section 122 of title 17, United States Code, 
        secondary transmissions to subscribers located within 
        the local market of a television broadcast station of a 
        primary transmission made by that station shall carry 
        upon request the signals of all television broadcast 
        stations located within that local market, subject to 
        section 325(b).
          (2) Remedies for failure to carry.--In addition to 
        the remedies available to television broadcast stations 
        under section 501(f) of title 17, United States Code, 
        the Commission may use the Commission's authority under 
        this Act to assure compliance with the obligations of 
        this subsection, but in no instance shall a Commission 
        enforcement proceeding be required as a predicate to 
        the pursuit of a remedy available under such section 
        501(f).
          (3) Low power station carriage optional.--No low 
        power television station whose signals are provided 
        under section 119(a)(14) of title 17, United States 
        Code, shall be entitled to insist on carriage under 
        this section, regardless of whether the satellite 
        carrier provides secondary transmissions of the primary 
        transmissions of other stations in the same local 
        market pursuant to section 122 of such title, nor shall 
        any such carriage be considered in connection with the 
        requirements of subsection (c) of this section.
          (4) Carriage of signals of local stations in certain 
        markets.--A satellite carrier that offers multichannel 
        video programming distribution service in the United 
        States to more than 5,000,000 subscribers shall (A) 
        within 1 year after the date of the enactment of the 
        Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act 
        of 2004, retransmit the signals originating as analog 
        signals of each television broadcast station located in 
        any local market within a State that is not part of the 
        contiguous United States, and (B) within 30 months 
        after such date of enactment retransmit the signals 
        originating as digital signals of each such station. 
        The retransmissions of such stations shall be made 
        available to substantially all of the satellite 
        carrier's subscribers in each station's local market, 
        and the retransmissions of the stations in at least one 
        market in the State shall be made available to 
        substantially all of the satellite carrier's 
        subscribers in areas of the State that are not within a 
        designated market area. The cost to subscribers of such 
        retransmissions shall not exceed the cost of 
        retransmissions of local television stations in other 
        States. Within 1 year after the date of enactment of 
        that Act, the Commission shall promulgate regulations 
        concerning elections by television stations in such 
        State between mandatory carriage pursuant to this 
        section and retransmission consent pursuant to section 
        325(b), which shall take into account the schedule on 
        which local television stations are made available to 
        viewers in such State.
          (5) Nondiscrimination in carriage of high definition 
        signals of noncommercial educational television 
        stations.--
                  (A) Existing carriage of high definition 
                signals.--If, before the date of enactment of 
                the Satellite Television Extension and Localism 
                Act of 2010, an eligible satellite carrier is 
                providing, under section 122 of title 17, 
                United States Code, any secondary transmissions 
                in high definition format to subscribers 
                located within the local market of a television 
                broadcast station of a primary transmission 
                made by that station, then such satellite 
                carrier shall carry the signals in high-
                definition format of qualified noncommercial 
                educational television stations located within 
                that local market in accordance with the 
                following schedule:
                          (i) By December 31, 2010, in at least 
                        50 percent of the markets in which such 
                        satellite carrier provides such 
                        secondary transmissions in high 
                        definition format.
                          (ii) By December 31, 2011, in every 
                        market in which such satellite carrier 
                        provides such secondary transmissions 
                        in high definition format.
                  (B) New initiation of service.--If, on or 
                after the date of enactment of the Satellite 
                Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010, 
                an eligible satellite carrier initiates the 
                provision, under section 122 of title 17, 
                United States Code, of any secondary 
                transmissions in high definition format to 
                subscribers located within the local market of 
                a television broadcast station of a primary 
                transmission made by that station, then such 
                satellite carrier shall carry the signals in 
                high-definition format of all qualified 
                noncommercial educational television stations 
                located within that local market.
  (b) Good Signal Required.--
          (1) Costs.--A television broadcast station asserting 
        its right to carriage under subsection (a) shall be 
        required to bear the costs associated with delivering a 
        good quality signal to the designated local receive 
        facility of the satellite carrier or to another 
        facility that is acceptable to at least one-half the 
        stations asserting the right to carriage in the local 
        market.
          (2) Regulations.--The regulations issued under 
        subsection (g) shall set forth the obligations 
        necessary to carry out this subsection.
  (c) Duplication Not Required.--
          (1) Commercial stations.--Notwithstanding subsection 
        (a)(1), a satellite carrier shall not be required to 
        carry upon request the signal of any local commercial 
        television broadcast station that substantially 
        duplicates the signal of another local commercial 
        television broadcast station which is secondarily 
        transmitted by the satellite carrier within the same 
        local market, or to carry upon request the signals of 
        more than one local commercial television broadcast 
        station in a single local market that is affiliated 
        with a particular television network unless such 
        stations are licensed to communities in different 
        States.
          (2) Noncommercial stations.--The Commission shall 
        prescribe regulations limiting the carriage 
        requirements under subsection (a) of satellite carriers 
        with respect to the carriage of multiple local 
        noncommercial television broadcast stations. To the 
        extent possible, such regulations shall provide the 
        same degree of carriage by satellite carriers of such 
        multiple stations as is provided by cable systems under 
        section 615.
  (d) Channel Positioning.--No satellite carrier shall be 
required to provide the signal of a local television broadcast 
station to subscribers in that station's local market on any 
particular channel number or to provide the signals in any 
particular order, except that the satellite carrier shall 
retransmit the signal of the local television broadcast 
stations to subscribers in the stations' local market on 
contiguous channels and provide access to such station's 
signals at a nondiscriminatory price and in a nondiscriminatory 
manner on any navigational device, on-screen program guide, or 
menu.
  (e) Compensation for Carriage.--A satellite carrier shall not 
accept or request monetary payment or other valuable 
consideration in exchange either for carriage of local 
television broadcast stations in fulfillment of the 
requirements of this section or for channel positioning rights 
provided to such stations under this section, except that any 
such station may be required to bear the costs associated with 
delivering a good quality signal to the local receive facility 
of the satellite carrier.
  (f) Remedies.--
          (1) Complaints by broadcast stations.--Whenever a 
        local television broadcast station believes that a 
        satellite carrier has failed to meet its obligations 
        under subsections (b) through (e) of this section, such 
        station shall notify the carrier, in writing, of the 
        alleged failure and identify its reasons for believing 
        that the satellite carrier failed to comply with such 
        obligations. The satellite carrier shall, within 30 
        days after such written notification, respond in 
        writing to such notification and comply with such 
        obligations or state its reasons for believing that it 
        is in compliance with such obligations. A local 
        television broadcast station that disputes a response 
        by a satellite carrier that it is in compliance with 
        such obligations may obtain review of such denial or 
        response by filing a complaint with the Commission. 
        Such complaint shall allege the manner in which such 
        satellite carrier has failed to meet its obligations 
        and the basis for such allegations.
          (2) Opportunity to respond.--The Commission shall 
        afford the satellite carrier against which a complaint 
        is filed under paragraph (1) an opportunity to present 
        data and arguments to establish that there has been no 
        failure to meet its obligations under this section.
          (3) Remedial actions; dismissal.--Within 120 days 
        after the date a complaint is filed under paragraph 
        (1), the Commission shall determine whether the 
        satellite carrier has met its obligations under 
        subsections (b) through (e). If the Commission 
        determines that the satellite carrier has failed to 
        meet such obligations, the Commission shall order the 
        satellite carrier to take appropriate remedial action. 
        If the Commission determines that the satellite carrier 
        has fully met the requirements of such subsections, the 
        Commission shall dismiss the complaint.
  (g) Carriage of Local Stations on a Single Reception 
Antenna.--
          (1) Single reception antenna.--Each satellite carrier 
        that retransmits the signals of local television 
        broadcast stations in a local market shall retransmit 
        such stations in such market so that a subscriber may 
        receive such stations by means of a single reception 
        antenna and associated equipment.
          (2) Additional reception antenna.--If the carrier 
        retransmits the signals of local television broadcast 
        stations in a local market in high definition format, 
        the carrier shall retransmit such signals in such 
        market so that a subscriber may receive such signals by 
        means of a single reception antenna and associated 
        equipment, but such antenna and associated equipment 
        may be separate from the single reception antenna and 
        associated equipment used to comply with paragraph (1).
  (h) Additional Notices to Subscribers, Networks, and Stations 
Concerning Signal Carriage.--
          (1) Notices to and elections by subscribers 
        concerning grandfathered signals.--Any carrier that 
        provides a distant signal of a network station to a 
        subscriber pursuant [to] section 339(a)(2)(A) shall--
                  (A) within 60 days after the local signal of 
                a network station of the same television 
                network is available pursuant to section 338, 
                or within 60 days after the date of enactment 
                of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and 
                Reauthorization Act of 2004, whichever is 
                later, send a notice to the subscriber--
                          (i) offering to substitute the local 
                        network signal for the duplicating 
                        distant network signal; and
                          (ii) informing the subscriber that, 
                        if the subscriber fails to respond in 
                        60 days, the subscriber will lose the 
                        distant network signal but will be 
                        permitted to subscribe to the local 
                        network signal; and
                  (B) if the subscriber--
                          (i) elects to substitute such local 
                        network signal within such 60 days, 
                        switch such subscriber to such local 
                        network signal within 10 days after the 
                        end of such 60-day period; or
                          (ii) fails to respond within such 60 
                        days, terminate the distant network 
                        signal within 10 days after the end of 
                        such 60-day period.
          (2) Notice to station licensees of commencement of 
        local-into-local service.--
                  (A) Notice required.--Within 180 days after 
                the date of enactment of the Satellite Home 
                Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act of 
                2004, the Commission shall revise the 
                regulations under this section relating to 
                notice to broadcast station licensees to comply 
                with the requirements of this paragraph.
                  (B) Contents of commencement notice.--The 
                notice required by such regulations shall 
                inform each television broadcast station 
                licensee within any local market in which a 
                satellite carrier proposes to commence carriage 
                of signals of stations from that market, not 
                later than 60 days prior to the commencement of 
                such carriage--
                          (i) of the carrier's intention to 
                        launch local-into-local service under 
                        this section in a local market, the 
                        identity of that local market, and the 
                        location of the carrier's proposed 
                        local receive facility for that local 
                        market;
                          (ii) of the right of such licensee to 
                        elect carriage under this section or 
                        grant retransmission consent under 
                        section 325(b);
                          (iii) that such licensee has 30 days 
                        from the date of the receipt of such 
                        notice to make such election; and
                          (iv) that failure to make such 
                        election will result in the loss of the 
                        right to demand carriage under this 
                        section for the remainder of the 3-year 
                        cycle of carriage under section 325.
                  (C) Transmission of notices.--Such 
                regulations shall require that each satellite 
                carrier shall transmit the notices required by 
                such regulation via certified mail to the 
                address for such television station licensee 
                listed in the consolidated database system 
                maintained by the Commission.
  (i) Privacy Rights of Satellite Subscribers.--
          (1) Notice.--At the time of entering into an 
        agreement to provide any satellite service or other 
        service to a subscriber and at least once a year 
        thereafter, a satellite carrier shall provide notice in 
        the form of a separate, written statement to such 
        subscriber which clearly and conspicuously informs the 
        subscriber of--
                  (A) the nature of personally identifiable 
                information collected or to be collected with 
                respect to the subscriber and the nature of the 
                use of such information;
                  (B) the nature, frequency, and purpose of any 
                disclosure which may be made of such 
                information, including an identification of the 
                types of persons to whom the disclosure may be 
                made;
                  (C) the period during which such information 
                will be maintained by the satellite carrier;
                  (D) the times and place at which the 
                subscriber may have access to such information 
                in accordance with paragraph (5); and
                  (E) the limitations provided by this section 
                with respect to the collection and disclosure 
                of information by a satellite carrier and the 
                right of the subscriber under paragraphs (7) 
                and (9) to enforce such limitations.
        In the case of subscribers who have entered into such 
        an agreement before the effective date of this 
        subsection, such notice shall be provided within 180 
        days of such date and at least once a year thereafter.
          (2) Definitions.--For purposes of this subsection, 
        other than paragraph (9)--
                  (A) the term ``personally identifiable 
                information'' does not include any record of 
                aggregate data which does not identify 
                particular persons;
                  (B) the term ``other service'' includes any 
                wire or radio communications service provided 
                using any of the facilities of a satellite 
                carrier that are used in the provision of 
                satellite service; and
                  (C) the term ``satellite carrier'' includes, 
                in addition to persons within the definition of 
                satellite carrier, any person who--
                          (i) is owned or controlled by, or 
                        under common ownership or control with, 
                        a satellite carrier; and
                          (ii) provides any wire or radio 
                        communications service.
          (3) Prohibitions.--
                  (A) Consent to collection.--Except as 
                provided in subparagraph (B), a satellite 
                carrier shall not use any facilities used by 
                the satellite carrier to collect personally 
                identifiable information concerning any 
                subscriber without the prior written or 
                electronic consent of the subscriber concerned.
                  (B) Exceptions.--A satellite carrier may use 
                such facilities to collect such information in 
                order to--
                          (i) obtain information necessary to 
                        render a satellite service or other 
                        service provided by the satellite 
                        carrier to the subscriber; or
                          (ii) detect unauthorized reception of 
                        satellite communications.
          (4) Disclosure.--
                  (A) Consent to disclosure.--Except as 
                provided in subparagraph (B), a satellite 
                carrier shall not disclose personally 
                identifiable information concerning any 
                subscriber without the prior written or 
                electronic consent of the subscriber concerned 
                and shall take such actions as are necessary to 
                prevent unauthorized access to such information 
                by a person other than the subscriber or 
                satellite carrier.
                  (B) Exceptions.--A satellite carrier may 
                disclose such information if the disclosure 
                is--
                          (i) necessary to render, or conduct a 
                        legitimate business activity related 
                        to, a satellite service or other 
                        service provided by the satellite 
                        carrier to the subscriber;
                          (ii) subject to paragraph (9), made 
                        pursuant to a court order authorizing 
                        such disclosure, if the subscriber is 
                        notified of such order by the person to 
                        whom the order is directed;
                          (iii) a disclosure of the names and 
                        addresses of subscribers to any 
                        satellite service or other service, 
                        if--
                                  (I) the satellite carrier has 
                                provided the subscriber the 
                                opportunity to prohibit or 
                                limit such disclosure; and
                                  (II) the disclosure does not 
                                reveal, directly or indirectly, 
                                the--
                                          (aa) extent of any 
                                        viewing or other use by 
                                        the subscriber of a 
                                        satellite service or 
                                        other service provided 
                                        by the satellite 
                                        carrier; or
                                          (bb) the nature of 
                                        any transaction made by 
                                        the subscriber over any 
                                        facilities used by the 
                                        satellite carrier; or
                          (iv) to a government entity as 
                        authorized under chapter 119, 121, or 
                        206 of title 18, United States Code, 
                        except that such disclosure shall not 
                        include records revealing satellite 
                        subscriber selection of video 
                        programming from a satellite carrier.
          (5) Access by subscriber.--A satellite subscriber 
        shall be provided access to all personally identifiable 
        information regarding that subscriber which is 
        collected and maintained by a satellite carrier. Such 
        information shall be made available to the subscriber 
        at reasonable times and at a convenient place 
        designated by such satellite carrier. A satellite 
        subscriber shall be provided reasonable opportunity to 
        correct any error in such information.
          (6) Destruction of information.--A satellite carrier 
        shall destroy personally identifiable information if 
        the information is no longer necessary for the purpose 
        for which it was collected and there are no pending 
        requests or orders for access to such information under 
        paragraph (5) or pursuant to a court order.
          (7) Penalties.--Any person aggrieved by any act of a 
        satellite carrier in violation of this section may 
        bring a civil action in a United States district court. 
        The court may award--
                  (A) actual damages but not less than 
                liquidated damages computed at the rate of $100 
                a day for each day of violation or $1,000, 
                whichever is higher;
                  (B) punitive damages; and
                  (C) reasonable attorneys' fees and other 
                litigation costs reasonably incurred.
        The remedy provided by this subsection shall be in 
        addition to any other lawful remedy available to a 
        satellite subscriber.
          (8) Rule of construction.--Nothing in this title 
        shall be construed to prohibit any State from enacting 
        or enforcing laws consistent with this section for the 
        protection of subscriber privacy.
          (9) Court orders.--Except as provided in paragraph 
        (4)(B)(iv), a governmental entity may obtain personally 
        identifiable information concerning a satellite 
        subscriber pursuant to a court order only if, in the 
        court proceeding relevant to such court order--
                  (A) such entity offers clear and convincing 
                evidence that the subject of the information is 
                reasonably suspected of engaging in criminal 
                activity and that the information sought would 
                be material evidence in the case; and
                  (B) the subject of the information is 
                afforded the opportunity to appear and contest 
                such entity's claim.
  (j) Regulations by Commission.--Within 1 year after the date 
of the enactment of this section, the Commission shall issue 
regulations implementing this section following a rulemaking 
proceeding. The regulations prescribed under this section shall 
include requirements on satellite carriers that are comparable 
to the requirements on cable operators under sections 614(b)(3) 
and (4) and 615(g)(1) and (2).
  (k) Definitions.--As used in this section:
          (1) Designated market area.--The term ``designated 
        market area'' means a designated market area as 
        determined by Nielsen Media Research.
          [(1)](2) Distributor.--The term ``distributor'' means 
        an entity which contracts to distribute secondary 
        transmissions from a satellite carrier and, either as a 
        single channel or in a package with other programming, 
        provides the secondary transmission either directly to 
        individual subscribers or indirectly through other 
        program distribution entities.
          [(2)](3) Eligible satellite carrier.--The term 
        ``eligible satellite carrier'' means any satellite 
        carrier that is not a party to a carriage contract 
        that--
                  (A) governs carriage of at least 30 qualified 
                noncommercial educational television stations; 
                and
                  (B) is in force and effect within 150 days 
                after the date of enactment of the Satellite 
                Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010.
          [(3)](4) Local receive facility.--The term ``local 
        receive facility'' means the reception point in each 
        local market which a satellite carrier designates for 
        delivery of the signal of the station for purposes of 
        retransmission.
          [(4)](5) [Local market.--The term ``local market'' 
        has the meaning given that term under section 122(j) of 
        title 17, United States Code.]Local market.--The term 
        ``local market'', in the case of both commercial and 
        noncommercial television broadcast stations, means the 
        designated market area in which a television broadcast 
        station is located, including with respect to a 
        commercial television broadcast station any 
        modifications to such market pursuant to subsection 
        (l).
          [(5)](6) Low power television station.--The term 
        ``low power television station'' means a low power 
        television station as defined under section 74.701(f) 
        of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, as in effect 
        on June 1, 2004. For purposes of this paragraph, the 
        term ``low power television station'' includes a low 
        power television station that has been accorded primary 
        status as a Class A television licensee under section 
        73.6001(a) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations.
          [(6)](7) Qualified noncommercial educational 
        television station.--The term ``qualified noncommercial 
        educational television station'' means any full-power 
        television broadcast station that--
                  (A) under the rules and regulations of the 
                Commission in effect on March 29, 1990, is 
                licensed by the Commission as a noncommercial 
                educational broadcast station and is owned and 
                operated by a public agency, nonprofit 
                foundation, nonprofit corporation, or nonprofit 
                association; and
                  (B) has as its licensee an entity that is 
                eligible to receive a community service grant, 
                or any successor grant thereto, from the 
                Corporation for Public Broadcasting, or any 
                successor organization thereto, on the basis of 
                the formula set forth in section 396(k)(6)(B) 
                of this title.
          [(7)](8) Satellite carrier.--The term ``satellite 
        carrier'' has the meaning given such term under section 
        119(d) of title 17, United States Code.
          [(8)](9) Secondary transmission.--The term 
        ``secondary transmission'' has the meaning given such 
        term in section 119(d) of title 17, United States Code.
          [(9)](10) Subscriber.--The term ``subscriber'' has 
        the meaning given that term under section 122(j) of 
        title 17, United States Code.
          [(10)](11) Television broadcast station.--The term 
        ``television broadcast station'' has the meaning given 
        such term in section 325(b)(7).
  (l) Market Determinations.--
          (1) In general.--Following a written request, the 
        Commission may, with respect to a particular commercial 
        television broadcast station, include additional 
        communities within its local market or exclude 
        communities from such station's local market to better 
        effectuate the purposes of this section.
          (2) Considerations.--In considering requests filed 
        under paragraph (1), the Commission--
                  (A) may determine that particular communities 
                are part of more than one local market;
                  (B) shall afford particular attention to the 
                value of localism by taking into account such 
                factors as--
                          (i) whether the station, or other 
                        stations located in the same area--
                                  (I) have been historically 
                                carried on the cable system or 
                                systems within such community; 
                                or
                                  (II) have been historically 
                                carried on the satellite 
                                carrier or carriers serving 
                                such community;
                          (ii) whether the television station 
                        provides coverage or other local 
                        service to such community;
                          (iii) whether modifying the local 
                        market of the television station would 
                        promote consumers' access to television 
                        broadcast station signals that 
                        originate in their State of residence;
                          (iv) whether any other television 
                        station that is eligible to be carried 
                        by a satellite carrier in such 
                        community in fulfillment of the 
                        requirements of this section provides 
                        news coverage of issues of concern to 
                        such community or provides carriage or 
                        coverage of sporting and other events 
                        of interest to the community; and
                          (v) evidence of viewing patterns in 
                        households that subscribe and do not 
                        subscribe to the services offered by 
                        multichannel video programming 
                        distributors within the areas served by 
                        such multichannel video programming 
                        distributors in such community.
          (3) Carriage of signals.--
                  (A) Carriage obligation.--A market 
                determination under this subsection shall not 
                create additional carriage obligations for a 
                satellite carrier if it is not technically and 
                economically feasible for such carrier to 
                accomplish such carriage by means of its 
                satellites in operation at the time of the 
                determination.
                  (B) Deletion of signals.--A satellite carrier 
                shall not delete from carriage the signal of a 
                commercial television broadcast station during 
                the pendency of any proceeding under this 
                subsection.
          (4) Determinations.--Not later than 120 days after 
        the date that a written request is filed under 
        paragraph (1), the Commission shall grant or deny the 
        request.
          (5) No effect on eligibility to receive distant 
        signals.--No modification of a commercial broadcast 
        television station's local market pursuant to this 
        subsection shall have any effect on the eligibility of 
        households in the community affected by such 
        modification to receive distant signals pursuant to 
        section 339 of this Act.

SEC. 614. CARRIAGE OF LOCAL COMMERCIAL TELEVISION SIGNALS.

[47 U.S.C. 534]

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


   (h) Definitions.--
          (1) Local commercial television station.--
                  (A) In general.--For purposes of this 
                section, the term ``local commercial television 
                station'' means any full power television 
                broadcast station, other than a qualified 
                noncommercial educational television station 
                within the meaning of section 615(l)(1), 
                licensed and operating on a channel regularly 
                assigned to its community by the Commission 
                that, with respect to a particular cable 
                system, is within the same television market as 
                the cable system.
                  (B) Exclusions.--The term ``local commercial 
                television station'' shall not include--
                          (i) low power television stations, 
                        television translator stations, and 
                        passive repeaters which operate 
                        pursuant to part 74 of title 47, Code 
                        of Federal Regulations, or any 
                        successor regulations thereto;
                          (ii) a television broadcast station 
                        that would be considered a distant 
                        signal under section 111 of title 17, 
                        United States Code, if such station 
                        does not agree to indemnify the cable 
                        operator for any increased copyright 
                        liability resulting from carriage on 
                        the cable system; or
                          (iii) a television broadcast station 
                        that does not deliver to the principal 
                        headend of a cable system either a 
                        signal level of -45dBm for UHF signals 
                        or -49dBm for VHF signals at the input 
                        terminals of the signal processing 
                        equipment, if such station does not 
                        agree to be responsible for the costs 
                        of delivering to the cable system a 
                        signal of good quality or a baseband 
                        video signal.
                  (C) Market determinations.--
                          (i) For purposes of this section, a 
                        broadcasting station's market shall be 
                        determined by the Commission by 
                        regulation or order using, where 
                        available, commercial publications 
                        which delineate television markets 
                        based on viewing patterns, except that, 
                        following a written request, the 
                        Commission may, with respect to a 
                        particular television broadcast 
                        station, include additional communities 
                        within its television market or exclude 
                        communities from such station's 
                        television market to better effectuate 
                        the purposes of this section. In 
                        considering such requests, the 
                        Commission may determine that 
                        particular communities are part of more 
                        than one television market.
                          (ii) In considering requests filed 
                        pursuant to clause (i), the Commission 
                        shall afford particular attention to 
                        the value of localism by taking into 
                        account such factors as--
                                  (I) whether the station, or 
                                other stations located in the 
                                same area, have been 
                                historically carried on the 
                                cable system or systems within 
                                such community;
                                  (II) whether the television 
                                station provides coverage or 
                                other local service to such 
                                [community] community or on the 
                                satellite carrier or carriers 
                                serving such community;\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\This amendment appears to be in error. An amendment to subclause 
(I) would be consistent with the other amendments under the bill.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  (III) whether modifying the 
                                local market of the television 
                                station would promote 
                                consumers' access to television 
                                broadcast station signals that 
                                originate in their State of 
                                residence;
                                  [(III)](IV) whether any other 
                                television station that is 
                                eligible to be carried by a 
                                cable system in such community 
                                in fulfillment of the 
                                requirements of this section 
                                provides news coverage of 
                                issues of concern to such 
                                community or provides carriage 
                                or coverage of sporting and 
                                other events of interest to the 
                                community; and
                                  [(IV)](V) [evidence of 
                                viewing patterns in cable and 
                                noncable households within the 
                                areas served by the cable 
                                system or systems in such 
                                community.]  evidence of 
                                viewing patterns in cable and 
                                noncable households within the 
                                areas served by the cable 
                                system or systems in such 
                                community.
                          (iii) A cable operator shall not 
                        delete from carriage the signal of a 
                        commercial television station during 
                        the pendency of any proceeding pursuant 
                        to this subparagraph.
                          (iv) Within 120 days after the date 
                        on which a request is filed under this 
                        subparagraph (or 120 days after the 
                        date of enactment of the 
                        Telecommunications Act of 1996, if 
                        later), the Commission shall grant or 
                        deny the request.
          (2) Qualified low power station.--The term 
        ``qualified low power station'' means any television 
        broadcast station conforming to the rules established 
        for Low Power Television Stations contained in part 74 
        of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, only if--
                  (A) such station broadcasts for at least the 
                minimum number of hours of operation required 
                by the Commission for television broadcast 
                stations under part 73 of title 47, Code of 
                Federal Regulations;
                  (B) such station meets all obligations and 
                requirements applicable to television broadcast 
                stations under part 73 of title 47, Code of 
                Federal Regulations, with respect to the 
                broadcast of nonentertainment programming; 
                programming and rates involving political 
                candidates, election issues, controversial 
                issues of public importance, editorials, and 
                personal attacks; programming for children; and 
                equal employment opportunity; and the 
                Commission determines that the provision of 
                such programming by such station would address 
                local news and informational needs which are 
                not being adequately served by full power 
                television broadcast stations because of the 
                geographic distance of such full power stations 
                from the low power station's community of 
                license;
                  (C) such station complies with interference 
                regulations consistent with its secondary 
                status pursuant to part 74 of title 47, Code of 
                Federal Regulations;
                  (D) such station is located no more than 35 
                miles from the cable system's headend, and 
                delivers to the principal headend of the cable 
                system an over-the-air signal of good quality, 
                as determined by the Commission;
                  (E) the community of license of such station 
                and the franchise area of the cable system are 
                both located outside of the largest 160 
                Metropolitan Statistical Areas, ranked by 
                population, as determined by the Office of 
                Management and Budget on June 30, 1990, and the 
                population of such community of license on such 
                date did not exceed 35,000; and
                  (F) there is no full power television 
                broadcast station licensed to any community 
                within the county or other political 
                subdivision (of a State) served by the cable 
                system.
        Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to change 
        the secondary status of any low power station as 
        provided in part 74 of title 47, Code of Federal 
        Regulations, as in effect on the date of enactment of 
        this section.


SEC. 623. REGULATION OF RATES.

                            [47 U.S.C. 543]

  (a) Competition Preference; Local and Federal Regulation.--
          (1) In general.--No Federal agency or State may 
        regulate the rates for the provision of cable service 
        except to the extent provided under this section and 
        section 612. Any franchising authority may regulate the 
        rates for the provision of cable service, or any other 
        communications service provided over a cable system to 
        cable subscribers, but only to the extent provided 
        under this section. No Federal agency, State, or 
        franchising authority may regulate the rates for cable 
        service of a cable system that is owned or operated by 
        a local government or franchising authority within 
        whose jurisdiction that cable system is located and 
        that is the only cable system located within such 
        jurisdiction.
          (2) Preference for competition.--If the Commission 
        finds that a cable system is subject to effective 
        competition, the rates for the provision of cable 
        service by such system shall not be subject to 
        regulation by the Commission or by a State or 
        franchising authority under this section. If the 
        Commission finds that a cable system is not subject to 
        effective competition--
                  (A) the rates for the provision of basic 
                cable service shall be subject to regulation by 
                a franchising authority, or by the Commission 
                if the Commission exercises jurisdiction 
                pursuant to paragraph (6), in accordance with 
                the regulations prescribed by the Commission 
                under subsection (b); and
                  (B) the rates for cable programming services 
                shall be subject to regulation by the 
                Commission under subsection (c).
          (3) Qualification of franchising authority.--A 
        franchising authority that seeks to exercise the 
        regulatory jurisdiction permitted under paragraph 
        (2)(A) shall file with the Commission a written 
        certification that--
                  (A) the franchising authority will adopt and 
                administer regulations with respect to the 
                rates subject to regulation under this section 
                that are consistent with the regulations 
                prescribed by the Commission under subsection 
                (b);
                  (B) the franchising authority has the legal 
                authority to adopt, and the personnel to 
                administer, such regulations; and
                  (C) procedural laws and regulations 
                applicable to rate regulation proceedings by 
                such authority provide a reasonable opportunity 
                for consideration of the views of interested 
                parties.
          (4) Approval by commission.--A certification filed by 
        a franchising authority under paragraph (3) shall be 
        effective 30 days after the date on which it is filed 
        unless the Commission finds, after notice to the 
        authority and a reasonable opportunity for the 
        authority to comment, that--
                  (A) the franchising authority has adopted or 
                is administering regulations with respect to 
                the rates subject to regulation under this 
                section that are not consistent with the 
                regulations prescribed by the Commission under 
                subsection (b);
                  (B) the franchising authority does not have 
                the legal authority to adopt, or the personnel 
                to administer, such regulations; or
                  (C) procedural laws and regulations 
                applicable to rate regulation proceedings by 
                such authority do not provide a reasonable 
                opportunity for consideration of the views of 
                interested parties.
        If the Commission disapproves a franchising authority's 
        certification, the Commission shall notify the 
        franchising authority of any revisions or modifications 
        necessary to obtain approval.
          (5) Revocation of jurisdiction.--Upon petition by a 
        cable operator or other interested party, the 
        Commission shall review the regulation of cable system 
        rates by a franchising authority under this subsection. 
        A copy of the petition shall be provided to the 
        franchising authority by the person filing the 
        petition. If the Commission finds that the franchising 
        authority has acted inconsistently with the 
        requirements of this subsection, the Commission shall 
        grant appropriate relief. If the Commission, after the 
        franchising authority has had a reasonable opportunity 
        to comment, determines that the State and local laws 
        and regulations are not in conformance with the 
        regulations prescribed by the Commission under 
        subsection (b), the Commission shall revoke the 
        jurisdiction of such authority.
          (6) Exercise of jurisdiction by commission.--If the 
        Commission disapproves a franchising authority's 
        certification under paragraph (4), or revokes such 
        authority's jurisdiction under paragraph (5), the 
        Commission shall exercise the franchising authority's 
        regulatory jurisdiction under paragraph (2)(A) until 
        the franchising authority has qualified to exercise 
        that jurisdiction by filing a new certification that 
        meets the requirements of paragraph (3). Such new 
        certification shall be effective upon approval by the 
        Commission. The Commission shall act to approve or 
        disapprove any such new certification within 90 days 
        after the date it is filed.
          (7) Aggregation of equipment costs.--
                  (A) In general.--The Commission shall allow 
                cable operators, pursuant to any rules 
                promulgated under subsection (b)(3), to 
                aggregate, on a franchise, system, regional, or 
                company level, their equipment costs into broad 
                categories, such as converter boxes, regardless 
                of the varying levels of functionality of the 
                equipment within each such broad category. Such 
                aggregation shall not be permitted with respect 
                to equipment used by subscribers who receive 
                only a rate regulated basic service tier.
                  (B) Revision to commission rules; forms.--
                Within 120 days of the date of enactment of the 
                Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Commission 
                shall issue revisions to the appropriate rules 
                and forms necessary to implement subparagraph 
                (A).
  (b) Establishment of Basic Service Tier Rate Regulations.--
          (1) Commission obligation to subscribers.--The 
        Commission shall, by regulation, ensure that the rates 
        for the basic service tier are reasonable. Such 
        regulations shall be designed to achieve the goal of 
        protecting subscribers of any cable system that is not 
        subject to effective competition from rates for the 
        basic service tier that exceed the rates that would be 
        charged for the basic service tier if such cable system 
        were subject to effective competition.
          (2) Commission regulations.--Within 180 days after 
        the date of enactment of the Cable Television Consumer 
        Protection and Competition Act of 1992, the Commission 
        shall prescribe, and periodically thereafter revise, 
        regulations to carry out its obligations under 
        paragraph (1). In prescribing such regulations, the 
        Commission--
                  (A) shall seek to reduce the administrative 
                burdens on subscribers, cable operators, 
                franchising authorities, and the Commission;
                  (B) may adopt formulas or other mechanisms 
                and procedures in complying with the 
                requirements of subparagraph (A); and
                  (C) shall take into account the following 
                factors:
                          (i) the rates for cable systems, if 
                        any, that are subject to effective 
                        competition;
                          (ii) the direct costs (if any) of 
                        obtaining, transmitting, and otherwise 
                        providing signals carried on the basic 
                        service tier, including signals and 
                        services carried on the basic service 
                        tier pursuant to paragraph (7)(B), and 
                        changes in such costs;
                          (iii) only such portion of the joint 
                        and common costs (if any) of obtaining, 
                        transmitting, and otherwise providing 
                        such signals as is determined, in 
                        accordance with regulations prescribed 
                        by the Commission, to be reasonably and 
                        properly allocable to the basic service 
                        tier, and changes in such costs;
                          (iv) the revenues (if any) received 
                        by a cable operator from advertising 
                        from programming that is carried as 
                        part of the basic service tier or from 
                        other consideration obtained in 
                        connection with the basic service tier;
                          (v) the reasonably and properly 
                        allocable portion of any amount 
                        assessed as a franchise fee, tax, or 
                        charge of any kind imposed by any State 
                        or local authority on the transactions 
                        between cable operators and cable 
                        subscribers or any other fee, tax, or 
                        assessment of general applicability 
                        imposed by a governmental entity 
                        applied against cable operators or 
                        cable subscribers;
                          (vi) any amount required, in 
                        accordance with paragraph (4), to 
                        satisfy franchise requirements to 
                        support public, educational, or 
                        governmental channels or the use of 
                        such channels or any other services 
                        required under the franchise; and
                          (vii) a reasonable profit, as defined 
                        by the Commission consistent with the 
                        Commission's obligations to subscribers 
                        under paragraph (1).
          (3) Equipment.--The regulations prescribed by the 
        Commission under this subsection shall include 
        standards to establish, on the basis of actual cost, 
        the price or rate for--
                  (A) installation and lease of the equipment 
                used by subscribers to receive the basic 
                service tier, including a converter box and a 
                remote control unit and, if requested by the 
                subscriber, such addressable converter box or 
                other equipment as is required to access 
                programming described in paragraph (8); and
                  (B) installation and monthly use of 
                connections for additional television 
                receivers.
          (4) Costs of franchise requirements.--The regulations 
        prescribed by the Commission under this subsection 
        shall include standards to identify costs attributable 
        to satisfying franchise requirements to support public, 
        educational, and governmental channels or the use of 
        such channels or any other services required under the 
        franchise.
          (5) Implementation and enforcement.--The regulations 
        prescribed by the Commission under this subsection 
        shall include additional standards, guidelines, and 
        procedures concerning the implementation and 
        enforcement of such regulations, which shall include--
                  (A) procedures by which cable operators may 
                implement and franchising authorities may 
                enforce the regulations prescribed by the 
                Commission under this subsection;
                  (B) procedures for the expeditious resolution 
                of disputes between cable operators and 
                franchising authorities concerning the 
                administration of such regulations;
                  (C) standards and procedures to prevent 
                unreasonable charges for changes in the 
                subscriber's selection of services or equipment 
                subject to regulation under this section, which 
                standards shall require that charges for 
                changing the service tier selected shall be 
                based on the cost of such change and shall not 
                exceed nominal amounts when the system's 
                configuration permits changes in service tier 
                selection to be effected solely by coded entry 
                on a computer terminal or by other similarly 
                simple method; and
                  (D) standards and procedures to assure that 
                subscribers receive notice of the availability 
                of the basic service tier required under this 
                section.
          (6) Notice.--The procedures prescribed by the 
        Commission pursuant to paragraph (5)(A) shall require a 
        cable operator to provide 30 days' advance notice to a 
        franchising authority of any increase proposed in the 
        price to be charged for the basic service tier.
          (7) Components of basic tier subject to rate 
        regulation.--
                  (A) Minimum contents.--Each cable operator of 
                a cable system shall provide its subscribers a 
                separately available basic service tier to 
                which subscription is required for access to 
                any other tier of service. Such basic service 
                tier shall, at a minimum, consist of the 
                following:
                          (i) All signals carried in 
                        fulfillment of the requirements of 
                        sections 614 and 615.
                          (ii) Any public, educational, and 
                        governmental access programming 
                        required by the franchise of the cable 
                        system to be provided to subscribers.
                          (iii) Any signal of any television 
                        broadcast station that is provided by 
                        the cable operator to any subscriber, 
                        except a signal which is secondarily 
                        transmitted by a satellite carrier 
                        beyond the local service area of such 
                        station.
                  (B) Permitted additions to basic tier.--A 
                cable operator may add additional video 
                programming signals or services to the basic 
                service tier. Any such additional signals or 
                services provided on the basic service tier 
                shall be provided to subscribers at rates 
                determined under the regulations prescribed by 
                the Commission under this subsection.
          (8) Buy-through of other tiers prohibited.--
                  (A) Prohibition.--A cable operator may not 
                require the subscription to any tier other than 
                the basic service tier required by paragraph 
                (7) as a condition of access to video 
                programming offered on a per channel or per 
                program basis. A cable operator may not 
                discriminate between subscribers to the basic 
                service tier and other subscribers with regard 
                to the rates charged for video programming 
                offered on a per channel or per program basis.
                  (B) Exception; limitation.--The prohibition 
                in subparagraph (A) shall not apply to a cable 
                system that, by reason of the lack of 
                addressable converter boxes or other 
                technological limitations, does not permit the 
                operator to offer programming on a per channel 
                or per program basis in the same manner 
                required by subparagraph (A). This subparagraph 
                shall not be available to any cable operator 
                after--
                          (i) the technology utilized by the 
                        cable system is modified or improved in 
                        a way that eliminates such 
                        technological limitation; or
                          (ii) 10 years after the date of 
                        enactment of the Cable Television 
                        Consumer Protection and Competition Act 
                        of 1992, subject to subparagraph (C).
                  (C) Waiver.--If, in any proceeding initiated 
                at the request of any cable operator, the 
                Commission determines that compliance with the 
                requirements of subparagraph (A) would require 
                the cable operator to increase its rates, the 
                Commission may, to the extent consistent with 
                the public interest, grant such cable operator 
                a waiver from such requirements for such 
                specified period as the Commission determines 
                reasonable and appropriate.
  (c) Regulation of Unreasonable Rates.--
          (1) Commission regulations.--Within 180 days after 
        the date of enactment of the Cable Television Consumer 
        Protection and Competition Act of 1992, the Commission 
        shall, by regulation, establish the following:
                  (A) criteria prescribed in accordance with 
                paragraph (2) for identifying, in individual 
                cases, rates for cable programming services 
                that are unreasonable;
                  (B) fair and expeditious procedures for the 
                receipt, consideration, and resolution of 
                complaints from any franchising authority (in 
                accordance with paragraph (3)) alleging that a 
                rate for cable programming services charged by 
                a cable operator violates the criteria 
                prescribed under subparagraph (A), which 
                procedures shall include the minimum showing 
                that shall be required for a complaint to 
                obtain Commission consideration and resolution 
                of whether the rate in question is 
                unreasonable; and
                  (C) the procedures to be used to reduce rates 
                for cable programming services that are 
                determined by the Commission to be unreasonable 
                and to refund such portion of the rates or 
                charges that were paid by subscribers after the 
                filing of the first complaint filed with the 
                franchising authority under paragraph (3) and 
                that are determined to be unreasonable.
          (2) Factors to be considered.--In establishing the 
        criteria for determining in individual cases whether 
        rates for cable programming services are unreasonable 
        under paragraph (1)(A), the Commission shall consider, 
        among other factors--
                  (A) the rates for similarly situated cable 
                systems offering comparable cable programming 
                services, taking into account similarities in 
                facilities, regulatory and governmental costs, 
                the number of subscribers, and other relevant 
                factors;
                  (B) the rates for cable systems, if any, that 
                are subject to effective competition;
                  (C) the history of the rates for cable 
                programming services of the system, including 
                the relationship of such rates to changes in 
                general consumer prices;
                  (D) the rates, as a whole, for all the cable 
                programming, cable equipment, and cable 
                services provided by the system, other than 
                programming provided on a per channel or per 
                program basis;
                  (E) capital and operating costs of the cable 
                system, including the quality and costs of the 
                customer service provided by the cable system; 
                and
                  (F) the revenues (if any) received by a cable 
                operator from advertising from programming that 
                is carried as part of the service for which a 
                rate is being established, and changes in such 
                revenues, or from other consideration obtained 
                in connection with the cable programming 
                services concerned.
          (3) Review of rate changes.--The Commission shall 
        review any complaint submitted by a franchising 
        authority after the date of enactment of the 
        Telecommunications Act of 1996 concerning an increase 
        in rates for cable programming services and issue a 
        final order within 90 days after it receives such a 
        complaint, unless the parties agree to extend the 
        period for such review. A franchising authority may not 
        file a complaint under this paragraph unless, within 90 
        days after such increase becomes effective it receives 
        subscriber complaints.
          (4) Sunset of upper tier rate regulation.--This 
        subsection shall not apply to cable programming 
        services provided after March 31, 1999.
  (d) Uniform Rate Structure Required.--A cable operator shall 
have a rate structure, for the provision of cable service, that 
is uniform throughout the geographic area in which cable 
service is provided over its cable system. This subsection does 
not apply to (1) a cable operator with respect to the provision 
of cable service over its cable system in any geographic area 
in which the video programming services offered by the operator 
in that area are subject to effective competition, or (2) any 
video programming offered on a per channel or per program 
basis. Bulk discounts to multiple dwelling units shall not be 
subject to this subsection, except that a cable operator of a 
cable system that is not subject to effective competition may 
not charge predatory prices to a multiple dwelling unit. Upon a 
prima facie showing by a complainant that there are reasonable 
grounds to believe that the discounted price is predatory, the 
cable system shall have the burden of showing that its 
discounted price is not predatory.
  (e) Discrimination; Services for the Hearing Impaired.--
Nothing in this title shall be construed as prohibiting any 
Federal agency, State, or a franchising authority from--
          (1) prohibiting discrimination among subscribers and 
        potential subscribers to cable service, except that no 
        Federal agency, State, or franchising authority may 
        prohibit a cable operator from offering reasonable 
        discounts to senior citizens or other economically 
        disadvantaged group discounts; or
          (2) requiring and regulating the installation or 
        rental of equipment which facilitates the reception of 
        cable service by hearing impaired individuals.
  (f) Negative Option Billing Prohibited.--A cable operator 
shall not charge a subscriber for any service or equipment that 
the subscriber has not affirmatively requested by name. For 
purposes of this subsection, a subscriber's failure to refuse a 
cable operator's proposal to provide such service or equipment 
shall not be deemed to be an affirmative request for such 
service or equipment.
  (g) Collection of Information.--The Commission shall, by 
regulation, require cable operators to file with the Commission 
or a franchising authority, as appropriate, within one year 
after the date of enactment of the Cable Television Consumer 
Protection and Competition Act of 1992 and annually thereafter, 
such financial information as may be needed for purposes of 
administering and enforcing this section.
  (h) Prevention of Evasions.--Within 180 days after the date 
of enactment of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and 
Competition Act of 1992, the Commission shall, by regulation, 
establish standards, guidelines, and procedures to prevent 
evasions, including evasions that result from retiering, of the 
requirements of this section and shall, thereafter, 
periodically review and revise such standards, guidelines, and 
procedures.
  (i) Small System Burdens.--In developing and prescribing 
regulations pursuant to this section, the Commission shall 
design such regulations to reduce the administrative burdens 
and cost of compliance for cable systems that have 1,000 or 
fewer subscribers.
  (j) Rate Regulation Agreements.--During the term of an 
agreement made before July 1, 1990, by a franchising authority 
and a cable operator providing for the regulation of basic 
cable service rates, where there was not effective competition 
under Commission rules in effect on that date, nothing in this 
section (or the regulations thereunder) shall abridge the 
ability of such franchising authority to regulate rates in 
accordance with such an agreement.
  [(k) Reports on Average Prices.--The Commission shall 
annually publish statistical reports on the average rates for 
basic cable service and other cable programming, and for 
converter boxes, remote control units, and other equipment, 
of--
          [(1) cable systems that the Commission has found are 
        subject to effective competition under subsection 
        (a)(2), compared with
          [(2) cable systems that the Commission has found are 
        not subject to such effective competition.]
  (k) Reports on Average Prices.--
          (1) In general.--The Commission shall annually 
        publish statistical reports on the average rates for 
        basic cable service and other cable programming, and 
        for converter boxes, remote control units, and other 
        equipment of cable systems that the Commission has 
        found are subject to effective competition under 
        subsection (a)(2) compared with cable systems that the 
        Commission has found are not subject to such effective 
        competition.
          (2) Inclusion in annual report.--
                  (A) In general.--The Commission shall include 
                in its report under paragraph (1), the 
                aggregate average total amount paid by cable 
                systems in compensation under section 325.
                  (B) Form.--The Commission shall publish 
                information under this paragraph in a manner 
                substantially similar to the way other 
                comparable information is published in such 
                report.
  (l) Definitions.--As used in this section--
          (1) The term ``effective competition'' means that--
                  (A) fewer than 30 percent of the households 
                in the franchise area subscribe to the cable 
                service of a cable system;
                  (B) the franchise area is--
                          (i) served by at least two 
                        unaffiliated multichannel video 
                        programming distributors each of which 
                        offers comparable video programming to 
                        at least 50 percent of the households 
                        in the franchise area; and
                          (ii) the number of households 
                        subscribing to programming services 
                        offered by multichannel video 
                        programming distributors other than the 
                        largest multichannel video programming 
                        distributor exceeds 15 percent of the 
                        households in the franchise area;
                  (C) a multichannel video programming 
                distributor operated by the franchising 
                authority for that franchise area offers video 
                programming to at least 50 percent of the 
                households in that franchise area; or
                  (D) a local exchange carrier or its affiliate 
                (or any multichannel video programming 
                distributor using the facilities of such 
                carrier or its affiliate) offers video 
                programming services directly to subscribers by 
                any means (other than direct-to-home satellite 
                services) in the franchise area of an 
                unaffiliated cable operator which is providing 
                cable service in that franchise area, but only 
                if the video programming services so offered in 
                that area are comparable to the video 
                programming services provided by the 
                unaffiliated cable operator in that area.
          (2) The term ``cable programming service'' means any 
        video programming provided over a cable system, 
        regardless of service tier, including installation or 
        rental of equipment used for the receipt of such video 
        programming, other than (A) video programming carried 
        on the basic service tier, and (B) video programming 
        offered on a per channel or per program basis.
  (m) Special Rules for Small Companies.--
          (1) In general.--Subsections (a), (b), and (c) do not 
        apply to a small cable operator with respect to--
                  (A) cable programming services, or
                  (B) a basic service tier that was the only 
                service tier subject to regulation as of 
                December 31, 1994,
        in any franchise area in which that operator services 
        50,000 or fewer subscribers.
          (2) Definition of small cable operator.--For purposes 
        of this subsection, the term ``small cable operator'' 
        means a cable operator that, directly or through an 
        affiliate, serves in the aggregate fewer than 1 percent 
        of all subscribers in the United States and is not 
        affiliated with any entity or entities whose gross 
        annual revenues in the aggregate exceed $250,000,000.
  (n) Treatment of Prior Year Losses.--Notwithstanding any 
other provision of this section or of section 612, losses 
associated with a cable system (including losses associated 
with the grant or award of a franchise) that were incurred 
prior to September 4, 1992, with respect to a cable system that 
is owned and operated by the original franchisee of such system 
shall not be disallowed, in whole or in part, in the 
determination of whether the rates for any tier of service or 
any type of equipment that is subject to regulation under this 
section are lawful.
  (o) Streamlined Petition Process for Small Cable Operators.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the 
        date of enactment of the Satellite Television Access 
        and Viewer Rights Act, the Commission shall complete a 
        rulemaking to establish a streamlined process for 
        filing of an effective competition petition pursuant to 
        this section for small cable operators, particularly 
        those who serve primarily rural areas.
          (2) Construction.--Nothing in this subsection shall 
        be construed to have any effect on the duty of a small 
        cable operator to prove the existence of effective 
        competition under this section.
          (3) Definition of small cable operator.--In this 
        subsection, the term ``small cable operator'' has the 
        meaning given the term in subsection (m)(2).