Among other things, the DeMint-Scalise bill would repeal the Communications Act's retransmission consent provisions and the Copyright Act's "compulsory license" provisions, allowing negotiations for the carriage of broadcast stations to occur in something akin to the environment in which negotiations for the carriage of non-broadcast channels occur. The bill would abolish legal provisions that mandate the carriage of certain broadcast signals by cable operators, satellite providers, and their customers. Under the bill, the Federal Communications Commission's various media and broadcast ownership restrictions would be done away with.
"Along with Sen. DeMint and Rep. Scalise, ACA agrees that sweeping action is necessary in a number of areas to ensure that communications rules reflect today's market realities," Polka said. "We look forward to meeting and working with the lawmakers on refinements to the legislation in an effort to address the specific concerns of smaller providers who serve smaller markets and rural areas."
Polka said he hoped the committees of jurisdiction will hold hearings on communications reform next year. He said ACA is encouraged by the interest of DeMint and Scalise and that of other leaders who have signaled their desire to investigate how current law affects competition and serves consumers. The bill's introduction with an entire year remaining in the current Congress clearly indicates growing interest in many of the topics ACA is concerned about. ACA, Polka said, welcomed the in-depth analysis that all of these policymakers envision.
"ACA is confident that legislation that removes rules and regulations that serve no real public interest purpose in today's market will indeed foster investment, innovation, and consumer choice. Sen. DeMint and Rep. Scalise should receive high praise for starting us on an important legislative journey that should yield important benefits for every American consumer," Polka said.
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