"ACA is pleased that the FCC also made clear that a selective refusal to deal, particularly with regard to cable overbuilders and new entrants, can be a violation of the program access rules' prohibition on discrimination," Polka said.
Although ACA said it thought the outcome is less than ideal, the organization is hopeful that the FCC's confidence in the functionality of the section 628(b) process, along with its additional safeguards concerning exclusive contracts, will send a strong signal to cable-affiliated programmers to not even attempt exclusive deals for must-have programming -- whether it be RSNs or highly rated national cable networks -- because the process will always lead to a finding that these deals are unfair and harm consumers and competition.
"ACA also greatly appreciates the FCC's adoption of a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) to consider proposals put forth by ACA on ways to ensure that the program access rules may be effectively utilized by a buying group, such as the National Cable Television Cooperative," Polka said.
Likewise, ACA said it was very pleased that the further notice will consider another ACA suggestion on whether to establish a rebuttable presumption for exclusive deals for national cable-affiliated networks that carry a minimum amount of sporting events, and other modifications that will make the Section 628(b) process work better for MVPDs, particularly smaller operators and new entrants.
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