The American Cable Association commended the Federal Communications Commission on its recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking potential revisions to its program access rules to better address alleged violations, including potentially discriminatory volume discounts and uniform price increases.
"ACA commends the FCC for asking the right questions in the program access NPRM released on March 20. Importantly, the FCC asks whether the program access rules adequately address potentially discriminatory volume discounts, and if not, how to revise the rules to address these concerns. The FCC also seeks comment on whether and how to revise rules that address uniform price increases imposed by vertically integrated, cable operator-owned programmers," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
ACA members have extensive experience negotiating program access contracts with suppliers, relying on the program access rules to ensure small cable operators are able to receive a fair bargain. ACA has long held that FCC regulations are flawed because they leave small operators with no more than a few remedies, if that, to combat vertically integrated suppliers of programming that demand discriminatory prices, terms, and conditions, and engage in other types of behavior barred by the rules.
In previous filings, ACA has highlighted that the program access rules place no restriction on quantity discounts; provide no automatic right to continued carriage while complaints await FCC action; do not address arbitrary internal transfer pricing; and may not apply to programming for online distribution by Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs).
ACA applauded the FCC for hearing the concerns of small cable operators and for seeking comment on the critical issues.