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Washington, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is working to provide living rooms in rural Wyoming with local and network satellite television signals.

Rural satellite dish owners would be provided local news and programming offered by their local network affiliates under the Satellite Home Viewers Act (SHVA). The SHVA conference report passed the House and is now waiting to be considered by the Senate. Enzi sent a letter to Majority Leader Trent Lott requesting the assurance that, if the bill is signed by the president, every viewer will receive a local signal and every broadcaster will serve his entire market area with clear digital signals.

"This bill provides viewers local news and programming in all rural areas for the first time, giving the citizens of Wyoming the same network choices as the rest of the country," Enzi said.

The satellite legislation provides immediate relief to those viewers who have lost their distant network stations over the summer due to a court ruling in Florida that restricted transmission by satellite companies to consumers. In addition, while satellite users in large markets are offered their local stations, consumers in rural areas have to rely on stations from New York and Los Angeles for their programming.

Enzi said there are some minor kinks in the legislation that he hopes will be addressed in the near future. These include ensuring that all satellite companies are put on an even playing field when negotiating for rights to broadcast local stations via satellite.

"Overall, this legislation gives rural satellite viewers the same network choices that urban viewers have possessed for years," Enzi said. "It represents a positive step toward equalizing television options."