On behalf of more than 900 smaller and medium-sized operators, the American Cable Association ("ACA") submits these Comments to assist the
Commission with its inquiry into the status of competition in the MVPD marketplace. These Comments focus on retransmission consent questions raised in the Supplemental Notice of Inquiry concerning the retransmission consent process.
As ACA recently noted, the 2008 retransmission consent round posed far greater challenges than previous rounds for small cable operators to obtain broadcast programming at fair and reasonable prices, terms and conditions.
ACA again submits the study of ACA's membership conducted by Clarus Research Group ("CRG"), and stresses that the sheer abuse of market power by powerful broadcast groups and networks raises costs for rural distributors and consumers, and impedes broadband deployment.
Moreover, with these comments, we address NAB's descriptions of a rosy
world of retransmission consent and put on the record new evidence of rising
retransmission consent fees. Taken together with the CRG survey results showing small cable companies bearing the brunt of these increases, this evidence gives the Commission sufficient reason to investigate retransmission
consent price discrimination. With such glowing descriptions of a functional marketplace in its reply comments to the Commission's Initial Notice, NAB should have no objection.