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The SBCA National Standards and Testing Program provides an industry endorsed benchmark of knowledge for the installation of satellite products and services. SBCA certified installers have taken the necessary coursework/training and passed standardized testing developed by the SBCA and satellite industry leaders.*

Certification is a continuous process of training and testing, where installers can gain higher levels of certification through additional testing.  Certification is valid for two years, after which the installer must be re-certified. The SBCA has also partnered with our member companies to offer certification courses in a variety of other products and services.

SBCA's National Standards and Testing Program began with a series of meetings and  conference calls in 4th quarter 2000 among SBCA, DIRECTV, and EchoStar.  After meeting with DIRECTV and Dish Network separately to discuss the need for a national standards and certification testing program for satellite technicians, a formal meeting with the top trainers for both platforms was held jointly in Denver in December 2000.

At that meeting, the participants decided that the satellite industry should proceed with a National Standards and Testing Program.  Among the reasons cited for the program are:

  • Installation is a key component of ensuring long term customer retention.  The need for an industry accepted installation standard is a critical component of ensuring satellite remains the leader in customer satisfaction.
  • Satellite services are expanding well beyond small dish installation; more services = more complexity.
  • As cable continues its digital rollout and expands its high-speed broadband offerings, satellite's ability to consistently provide quality installations and outstanding customer service will continue to separate it from its wired competition.
  • As both J.D. Power and Associates and Consumer Reports have noted, satellite enjoys a superior customer service rating among its multichannel competitors.  Sustaining and improving those ratings is critical to the future success of the satellite industry.
  • A national program that provides training and testing will lend credibility to the industry as a whole and give satellite a competitive edge in an increasingly complex playing field.
  • This national, unified set of standards agreed to by the DBS platform providers and other industry stakeholders, and administered and tested by the SBCA, the national trade organization that represents all aspects of the satellite industry, will provide a self-regulatory function that will serve consumers and prevent less effective government regulation.

With all parties in agreement that the industry needed a national certification program, the flow of information and training documents began, with the SBCA serving as the third-party entity responsible for assembling training and testing materials from the satellite providers and other interested parties.  The group decided to proceed with a program of at least four initial levels of certification.  Small Dish Installation, Multiple Satellite Antenna Installation, Commercial Installation, and Broadband Installation.

SBCA began the task of constructing and developing, from its own materials and from material provided by member companies, especially DIRECTV and Dish Network, the training manuals for the first two levels of certification of the National Standards and Testing Program:  Small Dish Installation and Multiple Satellite Antenna Installation.

Following a lengthy vetting process, the first two levels of the training, testing and certification program were agreed to in the spring of 2001.  In addition to Dish Network and DIRECTV, companies agreeing to the standards and participating in the program currently include:  Installs Inc., Dow Electronics, Mastec Advanced Technologies, the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) and numerous independent retailers.

In June and July 2001, SBCA began its Train-the-Trainer program for the first two levels and certification exams became available to retailers and installers with the program's official launch  at SBCA's 2001 National Convention and Exposition in Nashville.

The industry marketing and logo development campaign started with the SBCA marketing working group in May 2001.  Pegasus, NRTC, Comedy Central, and Madeline Berger of MB Strategists contributed to the production of logos and marketing materials for the program.

Over 200 trainers from Dish Network, DIRECTV and its Home Service Provider units, Installs Inc, Dow Electronics, and more are certified to deliver the training and tests for certification.

To date, approximately 45,000 installer technicians have taken the exams to become nationally certified and SBCA continues to receive and grade exams from program participants daily.  The SBCA and its network of trainers currently certify over 1000 technicians per month.  Demand is only expected to grow with the introduction of new products and services along with the industry acceptance of the NSTP program.

The SBCA National Standards and Testing Program has been recognized by the states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Louisiana, and Wyoming as part of their Low Voltage Licensing Criteria.

The SBCA National Standards & Testing Program certifies that installers have passed standardized testing developed by the SBCA and industry leaders.  The SBCA does not guarantee the quality of nor assume any liability for the work performed by the certified installer.

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