American Cable Association chair and chair/CEO of WOW! Internet, Cable and Phone Colleen Abdoulah, testifying yesterday before the Senate Commerce Committee, called on Congress to modernize the Cable Act of 1992 in response to skyrocketing pay-TV bills, a spike in TV signal blackouts, and chronic anti-competitive business practices by media giants. Focusing on the “broken retransmission consent market,” Abdoulah noted that TV stations have staged 69 signal blackouts so far in 2012, up 35 percent from the previous year. She added that more than 800 cable systems have been shut down since 2008 for reasons that include retrans-consent pricing and cable programming fees that can’t be passed along to consumers. Her suggestions to the senators: Prohibit coordinated negotiations by separately owned broadcasters in the same market; ensure continued carriage of signals during a retransmission-consent dispute; require binding baseball-style commercial arbitration of such disputes; and authorize consumers and pay-TV providers to use new technologies that allow consumers to receive broadcast signals over-the-air as an alternative to receiving and paying for that content through retransmission consent…Earlier this week, TechFreedom and the Competitive Enterprise Institute along with the Free State Foundation and the Cato Institute filed a brief amici curiae with the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit arguing that the FCC’s 2011 “Preserving the Open Internet” Order is unconstitutional. The brief also rejects the FCC’s claims of "ancillary" jurisdiction to regulate matters beyond what Congress has specifically assigned to the agency.

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