House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today joined dozens of members in urging the Federal Communications Commission to avoid expansive interpretation of the "program carriage" rules. The members are concerned with unnecessary government red tape saddling the video marketplace.
Upton, Walden and the members wrote:
"This is a much different market from 1992 when Congress first enacted the program carriage provisions. Those provisions restrict the ability of cable operators to freely negotiate with unaffiliated cable programmers. That may have made sense in 1992 when cable dominated the pay-TV market with regard to both distribution and programming. Today's market is much more competitive in both respects. The FCC's rules should reflect those changes rather than expand the reach of regulations that have outlived their purpose.
"The FCC's recent interpretation of the program carriage rules, however, could be read to enable programmers effectively to force their way on to a cable operator's system by merely alleging that their programming is similar enough to the operator's affiliated programming, rather than showing that there has been anticompetitive discrimination."