Satellite users could face hometown blackouts, says RV group

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Photo: arvc.org

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

According to a news release from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), the organization is still hot on the trail of federal lawmakers who are on the cusp of a decision that could affect satellite TV-watching RVers.


We mentioned in a previous story that Congress is at a point of considering the reauthorization of the federal Satellite Act. At issue is Section 119, an exemption in the act that allows satellite companies to provide such consumers with out-of-market network programming.

The section has been in place since 1999, and without it, as an example, it would be a violation of copyright law for a satellite provider to allow an RVer to access a New York broadcast while camping at a remote national park in a different market.

While the ARVC has been lobbying lawmakers to continue the exemption, there are other interests that have asking for the opposite – basically killing off the exemption. The ARVC is concerned that their voice may not be heard by lawmakers, and so has created an Internet fill-in form to contact Senators and Congress-folk to instruct them to reauthorize. Here’s a link to the form.

In the words of the ARVC, “If Congress does nothing, starting on January 1, it would be difficult or impossible for RVers to receive programming from the big four broadcast networks – ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox – via satellite. This is all part of a bigger fight between pay-TV providers like satellite and cable and the local broadcasters and broadcast networks, but RVers could be collateral damage.

“The head of the federal Copyright Office called on Congress to let the license expire, in effect saying that Congress shouldn’t even consider RVs as households in deciding whether to extend it.”

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