ACA submits these Comments in support of Baja Broadband Operating Company, LLC's ("Baja") Petition for Declaratory Ruling, Retransmission Consent Complaint, and Request for Stay ("Petition").
In essence, the problem is this: Broadcasters use their market power and bad faith bargaining tactics to extract unreasonable retransmission consent terms and conditions from small cable operators. And if small and medium-sized cable operators want to bring a complaint over this broadcaster behavior, no mechanism exists to permit the cable operator to continue carriage during the pending complaint. ACA has consistently documented this problem at the Commission. Now, as we enter a new retransmission consent cycle, we are seeing broadcasters take their bad faith bargaining tactics to a heightened level. To protect the continued viability of small and medium-sized cable operators, ACA recommends that:
The Commission permit cable operators to carry a broadcast station during a pending complaint, and grant Baja's Request for Stay.
The Commission rule that a broadcaster can expressly assent to retransmission consent through silence, and grant Baja's Petition for Declaratory Ruling.
The Commission enforce its objective standards of good faith, and grant Baja's Complaint and sanction KTSM.
American Cable Association. ACA represents nearly 1,100 independent cable companies that serve more than 8 million cable subscribers, primarily in smaller markets and rural areas. ACA member systems are located in all 50 states and in virtually every congressional district. The companies range from family-run cable businesses serving a single town to multiple-system operators that focus on serving smaller markets. More than half of ACA's members serve fewer than 1,000 subscribers. All ACA members face the challenges of upgrading and operating broadband networks in lower-density markets.