EchoStar CEO and Chairman Charlie Ergen Offers Statement
On Completion of Satellite TV Legislation by Congress
Littleton, Colo., Nov. 19, 1999 With final passage of satellite TV legislation, EchoStar Communications Corporation will begin providing better competition to cable by offering local ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX network channels to consumers. Within 24 hours of President Clinton signing the bill into law, EchoStars DISH Network will offer consumers in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and San Francisco their local channels by satellite. Consumers across the country living in areas where they are unable to receive a local off-air broadcast signal will continue to be offered distant network signals. EchoStar also plans to launch local channels by satellite to as many as 30 total markets next year.
"Congratulations go to the broadcasters for a hard fought victory in Congress," said Charlie Ergen, CEO and chairman of EchoStar. "Were disappointed that the bill didnt go further to protect the rights of consumers and does not allow consumers the freedom of choice to watch the network channels they choose. The legislation also should have done more to foster competition by creating better equality between cable and satellite TV providers. With no statutory guarantee of fair pricing, the best we can do is hope that the broadcasters will not demand terms and prices from us that are higher than cable pays and that will raise costs to our customers and keep us from competing effectively with cable."
EchoStar first approached Congress three years ago with the intent to protect the rights of consumers and to seek competition to the rising rates and poor customer service of cable television.
"EchoStar extends a heart-felt thanks to those in Congress who backed the fight for the rights of millions of consumers and to the hundreds of thousands of consumers and retailers across the nation who made phone calls and sent e-mails and letters to Congress in support of a bill that offered a true alternative to cable TV," Ergen added. "We look forward to working with the broadcasters and Congress in 2000 to further create effective competition to cable television and, in particular, to address the needs of rural customers who seek popular network programming."