The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, ruled Friday against a bid by EchoStar to overturn a key requirement of the Satellite Home Viewer Act – that as of January 1 satellite broadcasters must follow the carry-one, carry-all rule for transmitting local TV stations into their markets via digital broadcast satellite.

The ruling also applies to EchoStar rival and takeover target DirecTV. It is good news for neither, although the National Association of Broadcasters was jubilant. “This is a New Year's Day gift for DBS subscribers. We fully expect that EchoStar and DirecTV will now follow the law,” it crowed.

EchoStar is expected to appeal the decision – although it may refrain from doing so whilst its mooted merger with DirecTV is under intense scrutiny by competition authorities.

News source: (USA)