Doyle Television Viewer Protection Act Approved by House

December 10, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – December 10, 2019 – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-18), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, announced that the U.S. House of Representatives has approved H.R. 5035, the Television Viewer Protection Act, his bipartisan legislation to ensure cable and satellite TV customers have access to programming from all major broadcast networks.

 

“I’m very pleased that the House approved this important consumer protection bill today with bipartisan support,” Congressman Doyle said after the bill’s passage. “It took a lot of negotiation with the different stakeholder groups over a number of weeks to hammer out all the provisions in this legislation, but it was worth it. The Television Viewer Protection Act will benefit millions of Americans who subscribe to cable or satellite TV service. This bill is a big win for consumers.”

 

Federal law sets many rules for television broadcast signals, such as licensing and broadcaster ownership rules. It also sets the rules under which cable and satellite TV companies can retransmit broadcast television signals to their customers. This is a highly valued service for households that don’t receive one or more network-affiliated television signals because of restrictive geography or their remote location. Some of these laws were last reauthorized in 2014 in the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization Act (“STELAR Act,” P.L. 113-200) and are set to expire on December 31, 2019.

 

H.R. 5035 would:

  • apply important consumer rights and transparency requirements to consumers’ cable and satellite bills,
  • make important provisions related to good faith in retransmission consent negotiations permanent, and
  • give small rural cable providers the ability to negotiate as a group to purchase broadcast programming from the largest broadcast ownership groups, but provide important protections for broadcasters if a buying group does not act in good faith.

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