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FCC Closes Loophole

The all-knowing, all-powerful FCC closed a loophole on Wednesday that once allowed cable operators to withhold local sports programming from competitors.  The loophole held both satellite and cable providers at a disadvantage from airing the smaller sporting events.  FCC law requires that access to channels be allowed at reasonable rates.  But what the law only kicks in if that the feed is distributed via satellite.  If the feed is transmitted locally, the channels and companies are exempt from the law.

Both DISH Network and DirecTV have complained over the years of being shut out local sporting markets, such as Philadelphia.  Of course, Comcast, which controls the Philly market, would try and stonewall the satellite companies since they are trying to become a bigger player in the market.  This all seems pretty petty but in the long-run, it does affect the overall competition of the industry.

I don’t see what the problem is.  The operators will still be able to make some money off this deal.  Plus, the local sports and teams will gain national, and maybe even worldwide, exposure through this new deal.  It seems counter-intuitive for a market to not want to expand its viewership.  While the measure can still be challenged in court, many believe that it will not be overturned.  Just because you want to switch providers or switch from cable to satellite doesn’t mean that you should have to give up your favorite teams.  The FCC has leveled the playing field, giving the satellite industry more power in the endless fight.

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