Commission Poised to Open Necessary Rulemaking
PITTSBURGH, June 12,2008 – Continuing its effort to reform the retransmission consent regime, the American Cable Association (ACA) today praised the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plan to open a rulemaking to ensure that cable customers receive access to in-state broadcast signals (Available here). Under current retransmission regulations, the broadcast networks are able to restrict cable customers’ access to local programming by prohibiting network affiliates from allowing cable operators to offer their signals into neighboring Designated MarketArea’s (DMAs). This practice denies subscribers from viewing relevant local programming, including news, weather, and sports coverage.
“The current retransmission consent regulations and the anti-competitive practices they allow, have given broadcasters far too much control over the information available to cable customers,” said ACA President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew M. Polka. “Cable customers are unable to watch important local weather or coverage of their state capital, or even political advertising because their community falls outside the DMA. The DMAs were not designed to be literal borders separating communities from one another or important information, but under these regulations, that is exactly what has happened.”
ACA encouraged the Commission to quickly open a rulemaking, as mentioned in its localism proceeding, to address the broadcast networks’ refusal to grant retransmission consent for cable systems in adjacent, yet instate, DMAs.
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About the American Cable Association
Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing 1,100 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 7 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 www.americancable.org.