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FCC Ex Parte regarding Wholesale Unbundling

Submission Date: 

August 6, 2008

Ms. Marlene Dortch
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554                                                         VIA ECFS

RE: Notice of Ex Parte Presentation; MB Docket Nos. 07-42 and 07-198

Dear Ms. Dortch:

Pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 1.1206(b), we electronically provide this notice of an ex parte
presentation in the docket listed above. On August 5, 2008, the following persons met with
Commissioner Michael Copps and his Legal Advisor, Bruce Gottlieb:

Randy Brown, SVP, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Outdoor Channel
Shawn H. Chang, Deputy Policy Director, Free Press
Parul Desai, Media Access Project
Tom Hornish, COO, Outdoor Channel
Dan Isett, Director of Public Policy, Parents Television Council
Joel Kelsey, Consumers Union
Jeremy M. Kissel, Cinnamon Mueller, Counsel for ACA
Steve Kraskin, RICA
Ross J. Lieberman, Vice President of Government Affairs, ACA
Christopher A. McLean, E-Copernicus, Representing Hispanic Information and
Telecommunications Network, Inc.
Steve Pastorkovich, Business Development Director/Senior Policy Analyst, OPASTCO
Matthew M. Polka, President and CEO, ACA
Jose Rodriguez, Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, Inc.
David S. Turetsky, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Counsel for HDNet

At the meeting, participants expressed their support for Commission action in the wholesale
unbundling rulemaking to address the various harms that result from the market abuses of
programmers and broadcasters in their negotiations with multichannel video programming
distributors (MVPDs), such as wholesale bundling. Independent programmers, including those that provide content of special interest to minority audiences, described how obligations on MVPDs to carry numerous undesired networks in exchange for the right to carry desired networks, can and reportedly do restrict severely the ability of independent programmers to gain and maintain carriage on capacity constrained systems. Consumer and family groups explained how curbing abusive wholesale bundling and penetration obligations would benefit consumers by helping to control the rate of increases in MVPD rates, and increase the variety of channel offerings to better reflect the social and economic realities of their own community. MVPDs, including small and competitive telecommunications operators, explained how wholesale programming practices raise their costs, harm their ability to compete, and erode resources available for the substantial capital and operating costs necessary to deploy broadband in their areas.

In order to address the numerous problems with the existing wholesale programming market,
meeting participants were supportive of the American Cable Associations’ proposal, as presented in their January 3, 2008 comments. It was explained that the Commission has the legal authority to implement the ACA recommendations.

Finally, during the meeting, the participants discussed the need for and encouraged adoption
of Section 616 carriage complaint reform, and were supportive of the proposals previously presented by NAIN and others, as reflected in a June 5, 2008 ex parte filing in MB Docket No. 07-42. As explained, those proposals include a discussion on the need for reforms to the Commission’s program carriage rules, including the institution of a “shot clock” for the adjudication of program carriage access complaints, the necessity of a clearer definition in the regulations of the prima facie case standard, the introduction of an anti-retaliation clause, and a "stay" preserving the status quo before the allegedly discriminatory retiering or other violation until the complaint is decided (or dismissed for not stating a prima facie case).

A copy of letters from a bipartisan group of Senators and Congressmen that support the goals of the participants was provided. The letters are being filed with this ex parte.


Jeremy M. Kissel

cc: Commissioner Michael Copps
Bruce Gottlieb
Randy Brown
Shawn H. Chang
Parul Desai
Tom Hornish
Dan Isett
Joel Kelsey
Steve Kraskin
Ross J. Lieberman
Christopher A. McLean
Steve Pastorkovich
Matthew M. Polka
Jose Rodriguez
David S. Turetsky

Copps Filing 080608.pdf1.46 MB

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