PITTSBURGH, October 18, 2010 - "With Fox's boycott of 3 million Cablevision homes now in its third day, it's clear that sitting on the sidelines is not an option for the government. Congress and the Federal Communications Commission must intervene to protect consumers from monopoly broadcasters bent on exploiting regulatory advantages that leave cable consumers in the dark if their cable operators don't cave in to stations' blackmail demands.
"Fox's ability to pull TV signals with impunity stems from federal regulations that shield broadcasters from competition through the grant of exclusive programming privileges and the right to be seen in every cable home pursuant to antiquated buy-through obligations, which serve to raise consumer prices by artificially inflating demand for broadcast content.
"ACA commends the efforts of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who have encouraged the FCC to intervene further in the current dispute or have proposed retransmission consent reform legislation to prevent this problem from ever happening again in the future.
"ACA urges the FCC immediately to put out for public comment the Petition for Rulemaking on Retransmission Consent filed by members of the American Television Alliance (www.americantelevisionalliance.org), including ACA.
"Otherwise, the effects of this broken regulatory regime will continue to plague consumers throughout the U.S. and hit hardest in rural communities served by small cable operators, who must pay far more to access broadcast signals than do their larger pay-TV rivals vying for subscribers in the same market. Retransmission consent reform won't be achieved unless broadcasters' ability to hold consumers hostage -- like Fox is doing to 3 million Cablevision subscribers -- and engage in naked price discrimination has been eradicated once and for all."
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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