Why can’t we send DIRECTV equipment to other countries?

Beautiful Ottawa, Ontario. Fourth largest city in Canada and a beautiful tourist destination. Only one problem: you can’t get DIRECTV service there. Well, you can, but you can’t. Let’s explain.

We know that it’s very possible to pick up DIRECTV service in Canada. DIRECTV has focused its satellite signal fairly precisely, but there’s still enough overlap that almost every Canadian citizen has a clear view of the satellites. Take a look at this map:

Every person living within the yellow line has a fair chance of getting DIRECTV service and as you can see, that includes people in Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. So why can’t we offer you DIRECTV service or equipment there? It’s simple: The other countries won’t let us.

Each country has the right to legislate radio and television broadcasting. In the US, it’s the FCC that regulates it; in Canada it’s the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CTRC.) In order to offer service in any other country, DIRECTV must set up contracts and live by the rules set by those countries, and usually those rules say that they must offer local channels, and that the equipment can’t be used to pick up signals from other countries. That’s the case in Canada, for sure.

A lot of people are under the impression that US law is holding us back from selling to other countries, when it’s actually the laws of those other countries that are the problem. DIRECTV is a good corporate citizen and they don’t want trouble, so they say absolutely not– no DIRECTV equipment can leave the country. That’s their rule.

That’s why we won’t send DIRECTV equipment to you in other countries, and why, if you come to pick up your order at our Novi, Michigan location, we reserve the right to ask for US identification from you. We’re not trying to be the bad guy here, but rules are rules.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.