Hawaii wants Sat-TV just like the mainland gets it, state says
HAWAII deserves satellite TV equality with the mainland and so does Alaska, according to a Federal Communications Commission order released May 4.
The 128-page order seeks public comment, and also serves to re-emphasize the commission's commitment that "Hawaii consumers are entitled to the same DBS (direct broadcast satellite) services that are available on the mainland," said Clyde Sonobe, Cable Television Division administrator for the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
The state agency does not regulate satellite TV service, but has been advocating service parity for local consumers in the case for more than 10 years.
DirecTV and DISH Network are the two national, public companies providing DBS service to Hawaii, neither of which could be reached for comment yesterday.
There have been two long-standing, major problems for Hawaii satellite TV subscribers and would-be subscribers, especially with DirecTV, Sonobe said.
The companies' advertising cites equipment availability through major national retailers.
However, "some ... are not even aware that they are a retail outlet for DirecTV," he said. One company listed on the DirecTV Web site "will tell you straight out they don't carry it," he said.
The "knowledge level of the (store) employee" being asked can be a factor, but consumers have too often received unsatisfactory answers "and it's obviously discouraging (to hear) 'sorry, we don't carry it,'" Sonobe said.
"The second major issue is, I think the size of the dishes."
In Hawaii, "I think in almost every instance," a 1.2 meter dish is needed for service.
Mainland subscribers "have a better chance of (only needing) an 18-inch dish," he said.
Hawaii customers often have to get two dishes to get desired programming, which homeowners' associations may prohibit.
"Thirdly, we've always been arguing about the equivalent programming. If they can get it on the mainland, we should get it here," Sonobe said.
"We fully expect the DBS vendors to comply with the FCC's orders and will continue our efforts to ensure that they do," Sonobe said.
His office has not been contacted by DirecTV or DISH Network since the order was issued.
Finding the order and instructions on how to submit public comments is cumbersome. The FCC Daily Digest containing the order and attachments is at
Scroll to the "Texts" portion and look for this unlikely headline: "17/24 GHZ BSS Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" and choose your preferred format.
Navigating through the public comment process may be even more unwieldy.
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN ADDED TO THE ONLINE VERSION OF THIS COLUMN FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE
Daily Digest link: www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Digest/2007/dd070504.html
Scroll to "texts" portion and find ...
17/24 GHZ BSS REPORT AND ORDER AND FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING. Adopted licensing and service rules for the 17/24 GHz BSS that will facilitate the deployment of new broadband services. by FNPRM. (Dkt No. 06-123). Action by: the Commission. Adopted: 05/02/2007 by R&O. (FCC No. 07-76). IB
.. then choose preferred format for viewing 128-page order and attachments:
(The documents are mirrored here on starbulletin.com for your convenience. Simply click the desired link below.)
Microsoft Word documents
Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) documents
Plain Text documents
To file comments electronically with the FCC, go to this page (note explanation, below link): www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/
Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) [ main | alternate ]
Consumers filing comments on the Satellite TV equity for Hawaii issue, being handled by the International Bureau, should include this FCC Docket Number: IB 06-123
The Electronic Comment Filing System is designed to give access to Commission rulemakings and docketed proceedings via the World Wide Web. ECFS will: accept electronic comments in FCC rulemakings and docketed proceedings; scan in paper documents; and research, retrieve, and print any documents in the system. ECFS includes data and images from 1992 onward. Before ECFS was available, commenters were invited to file electronic copies of their filings in certain proceedings. A list of these comments is available on our Comments Page. Please note that if you experience difficulty using the main ECFS link, you may use the alternate link instead.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org