I have been pursuing this issue through both Dish and PBS, as well as a couple other avenues. PBS swears they have done nothing to remove this feed. As far as I have been able to determine so far, as of June 1, PBS still broadcasts, in the clear, on 5 separate channels on Satellite AMC-21 in the Ku band. PBS East and West, PBS 3, PBS Kids and PBS World. These are known as FTA, (Free To Air), Channels. At least one if not more of these is listed as HD. You can buy a small dish and separate receivers to get FTA channels. No cost other than the equipment.
I also talked with an uplink center in Texas. Spoke with a technician there who claims they indeed were still uplinking the PBS National feed for Dish. I asked if they were sure, as of current. She said yes. The Direct TV channel 389 still is listed as the PBS National feed. My brother still has the channel in his list, but does not pay for it so he could not verify that it was working. Direct has always had poor customer service and supposedly it has just gotten worse since AT&T bought them. I couldn't find anyone who had clue there or who could verify the availability of the channel,
I finally got through to the PBS National number and got a very angry service rep who told me that she gets 30 calls/day on this and that PBS has not changed anything. I went through a lot of effort to verify that we were on the same page and talking about the same thing. She swore up and down that we were talking about the same thing and she said, "your provider is probably lying to you." She said, "Trust me I deal with this every day and that's always the case." But I still made an email inquiry, to the national office. I got a reply, pretty much saying what the Rep told me on the phone, but promised a follow up and even check to see if there was some issue with my local stations. I am waiting to here back from them.
I had an exceptionally good Dish Specialist and had several communications with her. Supposedly, I was "grandfathered". But I have a couple lawyer friends who tell me that it is a legal term and can not be overridden, even with new law or regulations, nor can it be terminated by anyone but the individual or group who was grandfathered. (But with America getting great again, no telling what the FCC has recently ruled to "protect consumers".)
I was able to speak with someone higher in the Dish organization trying to get my questions answered. I was promised an answer today, but have yet to hear anything. It would appear that service people were directed what to tell customers in an internal email, but that doesn't seem to square with what PBS says. It strikes me that someone is not being completely honest here and frankly, I haven't yet concluded who that is.
No one at PBS can verify that as some sort of "rule". That used to be the case with commercial television, but I can find no such documentation in that regard to public television. None the less, if I was "grandfathered" as they told me, any such "rule" created later would have no standing.
In the case of commercial TV, in order for that to be applicable, you had to be capable of receiving and acceptable signal OTA.
No one at Dish or PBS has made such claim.
Well, with all due respect, unless you are a lawyer, I suspect they just may understand the legal aspects of this a bit better. I was shown the FCC rules on this and it seems pretty clear that as a customer receiving this feed prior to Feb 27th, 2010, I indeed may keep receiving the "distant network feed" and the local feed. In fact, I do not even have to subscribe to the local channels in order to keep the network feed. The FCC does not use the term "grandfathered", by I am told that is exactly what it means.
"If you were receiving distant stations on or before February 26, 2010, and your satellite company is offering local-into-local service, you can continue to receive the distant stations and you can choose whether to receive the local stations in addition to the distant stations, but you do not have to subscribe to local-into-local service."
So my local PBS channel can not override this grandfathered situation. Had I not been receiving this, (which I have), even though they may say that I'm in the "served" DMA, I can request an independent test of reception capabilities. So even under this non-grandfathered situation, the following applies.
"If your household is predicted “served,” you are not eligible for distant stations unless the station predicted to serve you grants you a waiver. You can ask your satellite company to request a waiver from the television station on your behalf. The station has 30 days from the date it receives the request to either grant or deny it. If the station does not respond within 30 days, the waiver is considered granted and the satellite company can provide the distant signal.
If the station denies the waiver, you can request a signal strength test be performed at your home to determine whether the TV station’s signal meets the FCC’s signal intensity standard for digital signals. Although the satellite carrier is not required to act on your request, if the carrier does accept it, the test should be performed within 30 days after the date it was submitted. The test must be performed by an independent tester selected by the satellite carrier and the TV station. If the satellite carrier requests the test and the station’s signal exceeds the signal intensity standard, the satellite carrier pays for the test. If the station’s signal does not exceed the signal intensity standard, the station pays for the test."
As for whether or not Dish or any other provider, can arbitrarily change what channels they provide, you are probably correct, provided they provide 30 days written notice to customers. (That is what I take from the FCC rules, but I haven't had my legal eagles weigh in on that yet.) I was told by Dish that they didn't make that call, they said PBS did. But PBS says they didn't.
So I have trouble not concluding that someone isn't being completely straight about the situation. As I stated, I don't know who that is and maybe it's a combination of both or some decision by someone not aware or misinterpreting what they can and can't do. In this day in age, it is not at all uncommon for people to be put in decision making positions without adequate knowledge to make correct decisions. I'm just trying to get a straight and true answer and seem to be getting finger pointing at other people. Maybe the FCC has rescinded its rules, but haven't made that decision public knowledge yet. Could be, they seem to of late, been focus on keeping the industry happy, rather than the public. What actions I choose to take after finding out, the accurate story, is yet to be determined. (I'm an engineer and I process things that way, one step at a time. Investigate, learn the truth and the act on the next step. In my career, assuming something without really knowing, is a good way to get people hurt or killed. This doesn't rise to that level of consequence, but the principle is still valid.)
If this were something different than Public Broadcasting, I probably would just blow it off like the vast majority of people do. If they were a profit driven company, I would almost expect profit to drive things, over and above what the consumers want. Had this not been something I have had for ages or was something I almost never used, I probably wouldn't care as much. For example, I never watch CW. But from the standpoint of a customer, I expect to be treated fairly and not lied to, blaming someone else for why I am impacted. If it's an honest "mistake", I expect it to be corrected. Is that so wrong an idea?
Maybe it is. I have discovered that many media companies have been lobbying the FCC to eliminate a lot of rules that were based on protecting consumers. A number of these lobby groups even masquerade as being consumer groups. Maybe I should just understand that I'm just a "little guy" and just be thankful that the corporations allow me to buy things from them.
Are you a Dish employee giving me an official position, or just a Know-It-All on everything Dish?
Are you suggesting the Dish story about PBS causing the loss, is just made up because they can?
I have no doubt that providers can do whatever they want and can get away with it. Happens all the time. And "user agreements" are challenged all the time, when there is some legal basis in doing so. Sometimes they hold up and sometimes they don't. It is hardly the preferred way to go and it's best accomplished via class action. Generally speaking, if the terns are incompatible with related laws and regulation, it will likely not be ruled as binding. A user agreement can not be used as an excuse to avoid following laws and/or regulations. But it depends somewhat on the particular court. As I said, this is hardly the preferred solution.
If you know they are lying about this being a PBS issue and you are a Dish employee giving me that official position, I would appreciate your honesty and say so. I believed that the customer service reps I have spoken with have been completely sincere and honest as far as they know. If they were deliberately directed to tell customers something that is untrue, then we have another situation altogether. You seem to have concluded that PBS is telling me straight.
I'm not sure what to think here. I'm just trying to get to the truth here.
Many thanks to all who have replied to this discussion.
Since I posted my original question two weeks ago, this subject has really taken off. While it has garnered many responses and diverse opinions many of the replies are directed to me when, in fact, they are replying to points made by other posts on this thread. Going forward, I would appreciate it if you are replying to a specific post, please lead your comment with the name on the post you are responding to (even when using the "Reply" button), otherwise any "post-specific" comments you make will be lost in the shuffle.
Thank you for your cooperation.
I -am-a-robot. Thanks for the private email and the guidance. No, no solutions yet. As you can see, lots of comments but no solutions. We did get a call from a DISH Customer Service rep who said she would look into the issue but she has never called back. Sounds like a lot of politicians - pointing the finger at each other, and nothing gets done.
My previous post was based on information obtained some years ago on the Satellite Guys web forum. As a result of the subsequent posts I did some belated due diligence and it now appears that the PBS National feed is still up and running and even in HD as an OTA digital sub-channel. Thus this problem is on DISH and why they have given up the $2/month we were willing to pay, albeit small, is a mystery. I live 90 miles from the Seattle source and cannot get any OTA excepting that from Bellingham and Canada.
For those interested, the Satellite Guys is discussing this issue also - see