The amount of money we pay in retransmission consent fees just doubled, and they keep increasing. But that's only one of a few problems facing Blue Mountain Television Cable Company as a small cable operator. The bottom line is that if our costs continue to rise, we may have to shut down!
- Jack McKenna, Owner
"In our carriage talks, the broadcasters and programmers take advantage of the fact that we're a small government run system operator. They make take-it-or-leave-it offers, and coerce us into signing contracts with pages upon pages of complicated terms and conditions. Our city doesn't have the money to hire outside attorneys to help us, so we're left with little option but to sign these contracts which lead to our customers paying higher rates, and we certainly do not make any money."
"Our small size would make it difficult to handle a dual carriage obligation. I don't know how an operator in our situation affords the headend equipment and other costs."
In the following article that originally appeared in the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal, Vast Broadband CEO and ACA Board member Jim Gleason stressed the need for Congress to pass a Local Choice law to replace the broken retransmission consent regime, which is driving up the price of cable and leading to a record number of TV station-caused blackouts:
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.
~David Shipley, Business Manager
Independent cable operators face unique challenges that require special consideration by the FCC in terms of how it deals with the digital television transition to ensure requirements do not impact the consumers or communities served - specifically, the digital must-carry requirements. Read More
In order for small cable operators to provide their customers with popular programming, large programmers often make them provide undesired programming on their most widely subscribed to tiers. Consumers pay the price for this abusive practice with higher cable rates and programming that is not aligned with their interests. Read More
When broadcasters abuse their market power to demand exorbitant fees from cable operators who want to offer their signals, consumers always pay the price. Broadcasters often discriminate against small and medium-sized cable operators, extracting retransmission consent fees at substantially higher per-subscriber rates than charged larger providers. Read More
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In order to protect the interests of independent cable operators, it is essential that members of Congress understand and respect the important role that ACA's more than 900 small and medium sized companies play in delivering communications services to more than 7 million households across the United States.
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Bob Gold - SVP of Distribution
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