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CableCo dba TVision (Colorado Springs, CO)

With the upcoming round of retransmission consent negotiations, we know that we'll be forced to pay fees to broadcasters for the first time, and unfortunately our customers will have to foot the bill. As a small cable operator, programming is our already largest expense by far, and we simply cannot absorb any more increases in our carriage fees. It's frustrating because current federal rules and regulations so favor broadcasters that we are left without any ability to negotiate with broadcasters for a fair price - there's no way to keep our programming costs in check. And in the end, it's our customers who are forced to pay more, and we're left in a less competitive position. It's time for a change.

In operation since 2003, Cable Co, LLC dba TVision encompasses a fiber-to-the-home platform offering digital video and broadband services to 1,800 dwellings in Colorado City and Rye, Colorado. The company shares a staff of 21 employees with its affiliates.

The consolidation of programming into the hands of a few media conglomerates over the years has made matters worse by increasing these programmers' leverage over small cable operators. For instance, Disney recently forced our company to carry SOAPnet which added to our programming costs, but had no material benefit with regard to adding subscribers or keeping existing ones. Our customers weren't asking us to carry SOAPnet, but now our subscribers are paying more to receive an extra channel that we believe most never even watch. If programmers were forced to offer their channels on a standalone basis at reasonable prices, terms, and conditions, I would offer a low cost basic tier with 30 channels, including local broadcast stations, and then provide sports and other niche programming on a separate tier for an extra cost. However, I am not able to do that because of the "take-it-or-leave-it" attitude that programmers have toward small operators.

TVision has done well in the market because we're focused on providing our customers with the best possible service at the best possible price. Unfortunately, existing federal rules and regulations that provide broadcasters and programmers unrestrained market power over small cable operators makes this increasingly difficult. I hope that Congress and the FCC will come to realize that we're providing value in small markets and rural areas by providing advanced services, including broadband, and comprehensively address the problems that are plaguing our industry so that we can continue providing the quality service that they've come to expect.

~David Shipley, Business Manager

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