LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) - Satellite-television providers EchoStar Communications Corp. and DirecTV are adding several local channels to their lineups.
Pay-television providers must carry every channel in markets where they provide local channels by Tuesday.
EchoStar said its Dish Network would begin offering UPN, WB, PBS, and other channels in the same package in which it offers ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX in each of the 36 markets where it offers local programming.
The price for the package will be $5.99 per month.
The "must carry" provision in the 1996 Satellite Home Viewers Improvement Act requires EchoStar and DirecTV to pick up more than 200 local channels across the nation, taking up a large portion of the companies' satellite-transmission capacity.
EchoStar contends that its proposed merger with DirecTV's parent, Hughes Electronics, would help both companies use their transmission capacity more efficiently by beaming down one signal instead of two.
The merged company could use the extra capacity to offer local channels in more markets.
DirecTV added most of the new channels to its service in 41 local markets Thursday.