Cablevision‘s proposal on retransmission to FCC

MUMBAI: Cablevision Systems has filed a proposal in the Federal Communications Commission‘s (FCC) proceeding on retransmission consent reform to protect consumers from programming blackouts by implementing three simple reforms in the retransmission consent process.

The proposal came in comments submitted in response to the FCC‘s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on retransmission consent.

Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge said, "We are pleased the FCC has initiated this important proceeding, and have proposed three simple market-based reforms to the good faith negotiations rules that will protect consumers from the threat of broadcaster blackouts. As the FCC and Congress know, consumers are the ones who are harmed when broadcasters pull or threaten to pull their networks from cable systems."

Implementing Cablevision‘s proposal clearly falls within the FCC‘s authority to reform the good faith negotiations rules and would protect consumers by avoiding blackouts of "must see" programming delivered over spectrum granted by the government for use in the public interest.
The three key reforms proposed in Cablevision‘s filing to the FCC are:

Forbid tying - end the practice of requiring the carriage of unrelated cable channels, owned by broadcasters, in order to also carry their broadcast networks. This practice has allowed broadcasters, who enjoy free spectrum and other advantages, to raise consumer costs by forcing carriage of their channels of limited interest in exchange for access to major broadcast networks and "must see" programming.

Require transparency - end the practice of allowing broadcasters to keep their prices for carrying broadcast stations secret. Retransmission fees should be public.

Forbid discrimination - allow broadcasters to continue to set the price of carriage, but do not allow them to discriminate among cable and satellite providers based on size or other factors.

"The days of secret pricing that, among other things, requires
consumers to pay for additional cable channels before they can receive a broadcast channel should come to an end. Broadcasters should not be able to keep the prices they charge hidden or to discriminate between distributors in a given market. Our simple reforms would end these practices, and we urge the FCC to consider this consumer friendly approach," added Rutledge.

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