In a letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew Polka has urged lawmakers to maintain regulatory parity between cable operators and satellite TV providers.
The letter focused on various proposals on Capitol Hill that would allow satellite TV carriers to offer their subscribers access to TV stations located outside of their local market but based within the same state. Access to those in-state, out-of-market broadcasters would enhance the ability of satellite consumers to stay current with important developments within their own states, whether the subject is politics, general news, weather, government, crop reports or sports results. Due to federal exclusivity rules and other contractual restrictions imposed by the broadcast networks, cable operators are often prohibited from offering in-state broadcast stations to their customers.
"Over the years, Congress has promoted multichannel video competition by
allowing satellite providers to offer local broadcast signals initially and later significantly viewed stations in a comparable manner to cable,” wrote Polka. “Giving DirecTV and Dish Network the right to now offer new broadcast services while denying small cable operators the same right would be an unfair departure from precedent and harmful to the competitive regulatory balance that Congress has been attempting to perfect for more than two decades."