What is STELAR?

Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization, or STELAR, addresses two key issues in satellite TV delivery: the distant signal license and the “good faith” clause.

The Distant Signal License

It ensures TV subscribers can receive out-of-market network TV programming from one or more of the major networks (i.e. ABC, CBS, NBC, or FOX) when a local affiliate is not available.

The "Good Faith" Clause

It also requires TV providers and broadcasters to negotiate with each other in “good faith” when they are addressing content pricing.

How does this affect me?

Without the distant signal license provision, more than 870,000 customers can not watch network TV programming, including:

  • Rural customers in areas where an over-the-air antenna does not work.
  • TV markets with no “local” TV satellite provider.
  • Tailgaters at sporting events.
  • RV and camper enthusiasts.
  • Long-haul truckers.  

Without the “good faith” clause, broadcasters are not held accountable for their unfair negotiation practices. Retransmission fees — the payments broadcasters charge cable and satellite TV providers to deliver their stations in channel lineups — represent the fastest growing part of customers’ TV bills. In fact, they have risen by 4,950% since 2006! Broadcasters can charge unreasonably high costs by blacking out channels until TV satellite providers agree to pay the fee that’s often passed on to customers. Since 2010, tens of millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of enjoying their favorite TV programs due to broadcaster-initiated blackouts.

Retransmission fees
(the payments broadcasters charge cable and satellite TV providers to deliver their stations in channel lineups)
have risen by
since 2006

Rural consumers will be disproportionately affected by the expiration of STELAR, as they are more commonly located in areas that rely on satellite. STELAR ensures that AT&T can provide our customers located in out-of-market areas with the same high-quality TV programs that most Americans take for granted — and at a fair price.

How can I take action?

Contact your elected officials in Congress and urge them to support the reauthorization STELAR to protect the interest of consumers so they don’t lose access to their favorite TV programming.
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