Upton’s satellite TV bill headed to president’s desk

A satellite television bill introduced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) is headed to President Barack Obama’s desk to be signed into law. 

The U.S. House of Representatives extended the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA) by five years when it passed the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014 by voice vote on Wednesday. The Senate passed the bill on Thursday.

The bill would ensure 1.5 million Americans who live in areas with weak local broadcast signals can continue to receive satellite television programming. It also includes reforms intended to better suit today’s technology.

“The STELA Reauthorization Act is an important piece of legislation that ensures that millions of satellite TV subscribers continue to receive broadcast TV programming from their chosen satellite provider,” Upton said. “In addition to reauthorizing the distant signals offered by satellite providers, we were able to include targeted reforms that will in fact enhance the video marketplace and allow consumers to access the programming that they want, when they want it. These reforms are prime examples of the kinds of deregulatory changes we are looking at as we work to replace the 80-year-old Communications Act.”

STELA expires at the end of year, meaning it must be signed by Obama before Dec. 31.