October 19, 2010 - NTCA Responds to News Corp. Customer Blackout

Points to need for immediate reform of rules governing retransmission consent

Arlington, Va., (October 19, 2010) - NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield released the following statement in response to the October 16 News Corp. blackout of Cablevision cable television customers, which also blocked their access to News Corp. Internet content:

"News Corp.'s decision to deny Cablevision customers access to its television and Internet content underscores the immediate need for reform of the federal retransmission consent rules to prevent broadcasters from manipulating the current regime to secure maximum retransmission fees and tying or bundling arrangements that dramatically inflate consumer costs.

A system that permits a broadcaster to threaten the withholding of its signal to their advantage is flawed-and if a large, multi-tiered provider such as Cablevision has trouble negotiating equitable retransmission terms, imagine how difficult it is for small independent operators with even less bargaining power to secure fair terms and fees.

Not only are the current rules out of step with today's marketplace, they are a path to reduced competition and increased consumer costs-particularly in our nation's rural areas."

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Contact NTCA at 703-351-2037The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association is the premier association representing more than 560 locally owned and controlled telecommunications cooperatives and commercial companies throughout rural and small-town America. NTCA provides its members with legislative, regulatory and industry representation; meetings; publications and educational programs; and an array of employee benefit programs. Visit us at www.ntca.org.