Orrin Hatch, Western Senators urge resolution to mtn. satellite distribution

Orrin Hatch, Western Senators urge resolution to mtn. satellite distribution



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Washington - Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) today joined a coalition of Senators from Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico in urging a speedy resolution to the ongoing impasse that has prevented nationwide consumer access to the Mountain West Sports Network.

"The teams in the Mountain West Conference have developed a fan base around the country," Hatch said. "Students, alumni, and other university stakeholders are eager to watch these games, in Utah and elsewhere. I encourage the involved parties to find a solution that serves the interests of their consumers."

Addressed to the CEOs of Comcast Cable, Direct TV, Echostar Communications Corporation, and CBS Corporation, and the Mountain West Conference's commissioner, the letter states:

"As you might expect, our constituents have contacted us to express their concerns about their inability to access this programming. We anticipate that, with the progression of the college football season, which will be followed immediately by the basketball season, our constituents' desire to view Mountain West Conference games will only intensify.

"Despite some claims to the contrary, it appears that the hurdles preventing an agreement are not technical in nature. Indeed, other conferences and providers have been able to make programming arrangements that have made games and other programming available through both cable and satellite outlets. We strongly believe that, when it comes to programming conflicts, the interests of consumers should be the foremost concern. Toward that end, we urge all of the parties involved in this dispute to work together to ensure that Mountain West Conference games and events are broadcast to the widest possible audience."

The complete letter follows.

Mr. Brian Roberts

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Comcast Cable

1500 Market Street

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102

Mr. Chase Carey

President and Chief Executive Officer

Direct TV

230 E. Imperial Highway

El Segundo, California 90245

Mr. Charles W. Ergen

Chief Executive Officer

Echostar Communications Corporation

9601 S. Meridian Boulevard

Englewood, Colorado 80112

Mr. Les Moonves

President and Chief Executive Officer

CBS Corporation

7800 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, California 90036

Mr. Craig Thompson

Commissioner

Mountain West Conference

15455 Gleneagle Drive, Suite 200 Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921

Dear Sirs:

We would like to take this opportunity to write today to express our concern regarding the ongoing impasse that has prevented access to the Mountain West Sports Network through the satellite services offered by DirecTV and DISH Network.

This issue has been a matter of substantial controversy among the fans of the teams in the Mountain West Conference as the failure to reach an agreement has left many viewers without access to this widely anticipated and popular sports programming. As you know, many of the universities in the Mountain West Conference are marquee schools located in the Intermountain West with student populations drawn from all over the United States. Also, these schools' alumni live in all areas of the country, many of them far outside the regions where the network has been made available. Many of the potential viewers in the Intermountain West live in rural and mountainous areas where only satellite television is available.

As you might expect, our constituents have contacted us to express their concerns about their inability to access this programming. We anticipate that, with the progression of the college football season, which will be followed immediately by the basketball season, our constituents' desire to view Mountain West Conference games will only intensify.

Despite some claims to the contrary, it appears that the hurdles preventing an agreement are not technical in nature. Indeed, other conferences and providers have been able to make programming arrangements that have made games and other programming available through both cable and satellite outlets. We strongly believe that, when it comes to programming conflicts, the interests of consumers should be the foremost concern. Toward that end, we urge all of the parties involved in this dispute to work together to ensure that Mountain West Conference games and events are broadcast to the widest possible audience.

Clearly, both cable and satellite providers have to make programming decisions with their business interests in mind. However, if all interested parties would be willing to make appropriate concessions, we believe that there are a number of readily available solutions to this conflict. As Senators from states represented in the Mountain West Conference, we continue to be supportive of public policies that allow both cable and satellite vendors to maximize program content for their customers. That being the case, we believe each of the entities involved in this dispute share the responsibility to provide access to program content to as many consumers as possible.

We look forward to assisting you in any appropriate manner to facilitate a swift conclusion to your negotiations. We look forward to seeing Mountain West Sports Network achieving the goal of nationwide access.

Sincerely,

_________________________________ ________________________________

Robert F. Bennett Orrin G. Hatch

United States Senator United States Senator

_________________________________ ________________________________

Michael B. Enzi John Barrasso

United States Senator United States Senator

_________________________________ ________________________________

John Ensign Pete V. Domenici

United States Senator United States Senator

_________________________________

Wayne Allard

United States Senator

cc:

Dr. David B. Ashley, President, University of Nevada at Las Vegas

Dr. Victor Boschini, Chancellor, Texas Christian University

Dr. Thomas Buchanan, President, University of Wyoming

Dr. Larry Edward Penley, President, Colorado State University

Lt. Gen. John F. Regni, Superintendent, United States Air Force Academy

Dr. Cecil Samuelson, President, Brigham Young University

Dr. David J. Schmidly, President, University of New Mexico

Dr. Stephen L. Weber, President, San Diego State University

Mr. Michael K. Young, President, University of Utah

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