Hulsey spent 2017 advocating before the FCC and Congress to protect the Scripps Networks’ C-band spectrum content transmission from disruption and interference. “We oppose neither new uses nor users, but we want to ensure that our content transmission remains protected from harmful and disruptive interference,” she says. “With at least five FCC open matters on this topic and Hill measures touching it too, we are engaging with both the FCC and Congress to protect this important business interest.” Hulsey oversees legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts for Scripps, now Discovery. She first made her mark in the industry working for TV One, BET, Fleischman & Walsh and the FCC.
What have been the most important legal issues in communications for you in the past year?
For our company, the primary communications legal issue has been C-Band. C-band is a little known band of spectrum (3.7 – 4.2 GHz) through which content companies (like ours) transmit programming content to/from their distribution partners. There is great interest—including from the federal government and commercial mobile broadband providers—to expand both the uses in and users of that spectrum. We oppose neither new uses nor users, but we want to ensure that our content transmission remains protected from harmful and disruptive interference. With at least five FCC open matters on this topic and Hill measures touching it too, we are engaging with both the FCC and Congress to protect this important business interest.
My net neutrality prediction is …
Legislation. No doubt about it. The Congressional Dems’ CRA effort won’t succeed, but it will keep the conversation sufficiently alive to prompt a bipartisan group of lawmakers to make two of the three net neutrality principles the law of the land, i.e, no blocking, no throttling. The prohibition of paid prioritization arrangements—the third net neutrality principal—will not be adopted. Parties will be permitted to negotiate—but perhaps be forced to make public—terms concerning content prioritization.
What’s the biggest sleeper issue in communications?
I predict the sleeper issue to be the domestic piracy that occurs when consumers combine legal content management devices, like Kodi, with software that provides access to illegal content streams such that they are able to replicate an entire cable or OTT package for free. Having paid for the device/box and software, consumers don’t believe they are committing theft. And, because the devices/boxes are legal to purchase and own, the criminal activity is hard to police and prevent, Unfortunately, the end result is a loss of revenue for both content creators and content distributors—revenue that would contribute to the creation of news, sports and entertainment programming on which consumers have come to depend.