PITTSBURGH, January 10, 2012 - American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement in support of Shenandoah Cable Television Company (Shentel) in connection with a retransmission consent complaint filed last Thursday with the Federal Communications Commission by TV station WJLA, an ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C., owned by Allbritton Communications. Shentel filed its response yesterday.
"Based on the facts presented to the FCC, it's quite apparent that Allbritton has hurled frivolous allegations at Shentel, which bravely decided to resist this broadcaster's effort to extract huge amounts of money for carriage of its ABC signal. After reviewing all the evidence, including email exchanges in their proper context and sequence, an impartial judge could only conclude that Allbritton filed an FCC complaint because it did not like the outcome of a fair negotiation that Shentel conducted in good faith, as required by law.
"Allbritton's attempt to gouge Shentel customers was unsuccessful, an outcome rarely seen in an economy saturated with anticompetitive conduct by broadcasters, highlighted by coordinated retransmission consent negotiating by same-market, separately owned TV stations determined to gain maximum bargaining leverage over smaller pay-TV providers.
"This unfortunate episode was brought on by Allbritton's own internal mismanagement. It could have been avoided had policymakers embraced long ago ACA's position that retransmission consent laws and regulations are outdated and that Congress and the FCC have to craft a new system that minimizes breakdowns in negotiations and maximizes the public interest."
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 900 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 7.6 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA's members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit http://www.americancable.org/
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