USTelecom is a strong advocate of ensuring reasonable access to programming content.
Broadband’s traditional benefits to consumers have been supplemented by the increasing availability of video – now available through both cable and Internet streaming. This new addition to the broadband scene has given rise to intense competition, which in turn has revealed the need to reassess today’s video and content marketplace.
The video programming market continues to evolve and change with each passing year. As technology becomes more sophisticated and video more accessible, competition between direct-broadcast satellite, cable companies, wireline carriers, and edge-based video providers intensifies. Issues such as spiraling retransmission fees and program access have inspired hearty debate and updated regulation.
In a recent inquiry into video completion, the FCC created a new analytical framework that categorizes entities that deliver video programming into three groups and organizes factors for each. The FCC is also reviewing other critical video-related issues, including the questions of program access and retransmission consent.
USTelecom supports the ability of our members to provide video to their customers at fair and equitable rates. We are dedicated advocates on the retransmission consent issue, which allows our members to carry local networks at a reasonable rate. And we have advocated before the FCC about program access complaints, resulting in new rules with protect video providers from being shut out of important programming by their competitors.
USTelecom also follows the FCC’s video competition reports closely to ensure our members are kept up to date on any issues or perceived problems on this topic. Our partnership with the American Television Alliance also strengthens our advocacy efforts on our members’ behalf.
Carriers should be aware of the varying degrees to which multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), broadcast television stations, and online video distributors (OVDs) are evolving. In addition to its analysis of traditional video competition, the FCC is exploring video programming that is distributed over the Internet.
Additionally, carriers should stay informed on the retransmission consent process and follow reform discussions closely. The absence of competition in this regard has ironically increased broadcasters’ ability to abuse their bargaining power with respect to retransmission fees – a situation which threatens carriers' ability to compete in local markets.