FCC Opens Retransmission Consent Rulemaking
Responding to a year-old request from a coalition supported by the American Cable Association, the Federal Communications Commission agreed March 3 to review its retransmission consent rules in an effort to shield consumers from powerful TV stations that pull their signals after failing to force pay-TV providers to pay excessive carriage fees.
"ACA believes an ‘Extreme Makeover: FCC Edition’ is needed to protect consumers from price-gouging TV stations," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said moments after the FCC vote. "For many years, ACA has been in the vanguard by warning that retransmission consent is a badly outdated system that inflicts serious economic harm on consumers served by independent cable operators put on the defensive by the aggressive cash demands of market-dominant TV stations. ACA commends the FCC for agreeing that the time has come to give careful consideration to new TV station carriage rules to ensure they reflect the market as it exists today and that consumers get to realize the benefits of real choice and robust competition."
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- Retrans Battles Flare Anew: Satcaster Dish Loses LIN Stations In 17 Markets (Variety, 3/5)
As the FCC moves to overhaul its retransmission consent rule, Saturday saw a major flareup of fighting as LIN Media-owned TV stations in 17 markets went dark on satcaster Dish Network.
- Sinclair Cut Retrans Agreement Hours Before FCC Reconsiders Rules (TVB, 3/3)
Sinclair announced a retransmission agreement-in-principle this morning with Comcast, just as federal regulators prepare to reconsider its rules governing the scheme.
- Copyright Office Launches Inquiry Into Phasing Out Compulsory Carriage Licenses (Multichannel News, 3/3)
The Copyright Office has launched its Notice of Inquiry on phasing out the compulsory licenses for MVPDs to carry local and distant broadcast TV station signals.
- NCTA: NAB 'Hoarding' Charge Is Flat Wrong, Finger-Pointing Distraction (Broadcasting & Cable, 3/3)
In a letter to Senate and House communications oversight committee leaders, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association says that broadcasters allegations of spectrum hoarding by operators is 'flat wrong.'
- Fund For Phone Service In Low-Income Areas Is Tagged For FCC Overhaul (NationalJournal, 3/3)
The Federal Communications Commission approved efforts to modernize another Universal Service Fund program, one that helps extend communication networks to low-income areas.
- NAB Chief Gordon Smith On Spectrum Reclamation: We Won't Be Rolled (Broadcasting & Cable, 3/3)
National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith says that broadcasters are willing to volunteer spectrum, but won't be "rolled" into a degraded position on the spectrum band.
- House Leadership Questions Industry For Laying Down On Net Neutrality (The Hill, 3/2)
House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) convened a meeting of top communications companies on Wednesday morning, where he questioned why they are not doing more to help Republicans in the fight against net-neutrality rules.
- Sens. Kerry, Snowe Introduces Spectrum Inventory Bill (The Washington Post, 3/2)
Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snow (R-Maine) said Wednesday that they are introducing legislation that allows federal agencies to survey how the government is using spectrum that could otherwise be used for commercial wireless.
- FCC's Baker Outlines Framework For Merger Review Overhaul (Broadcasting & Cable, 3/2)
FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker Wednesday said the FCC should set a timetable and limiting principles for merger reviews so the process will not chill investment.
- TV Stations Face 'Formidable' Spectrum Lobby (TVNewsCheck, 3/2)
Hundreds of state broadcasting association officials and other broadcasters will be on Capitol Hill today reminding members of Congress that broadcasting is still a vital and relevant service.
- A Cable Operator's Plea For Retrans Reform (SNL, 2/28)
To many cable operators' dismay, the Big Four broadcasters are not the only ones demanding hefty increases in retransmission consent fees anymore.
- House Speaker Boehner Rips Bid To Regulate Internet (The Washington Times, 2/28)
House Speaker John A. Boehner lashed out against efforts to regulate Internet traffic before an audience of evangelical Christian media leaders and pointedly responded to President Obama by comparing the challenge of the burgeoning national debt to the Sputnik-era space race.
For more news, visit the Headlines Page on the ACA website.
Across this vast country, small and rural markets participate in the digital revolution by receiving video, broadband, and phone services from nearly 900 small and medium-sized independent operators represented by the American Cable Association (ACA).
ACA’s members -- cable, phone, and fiber-to-the-home operators and municipalities -- deliver affordable basic and advanced services to about 7.6 million households and businesses. ACA members operate in every state, offering high-definition television, next generation Internet access, and digital phone service.
Access to advanced communications is not a luxury but a critical necessity for consumers and companies, schools and hospitals. America’s economic prosperity in smaller markets and rural areas depends on the growth and success of ACA members, who believe a connected nation, is a united nation.
The ACA asks lawmakers and regulators to ensure fair treatment so that small and medium-sized independent operators may continue to supply affordable video, broadband, and phone services to Main Street America. Through active participation in the policymaking process, ACA members and leaders advocate for the interests of their customers, their companies, and their communities to help ensure the continued viability of their way of life in hometown America.
For more information, visit www.americancable.org, or contact: