In a setback for broadcasters and a win for cable companies, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington today affirmed a 2015 Federal Communications Commission ruling making it easier for cable operators to avoid rate regulation of their basic tiers by states and local municipalities, TVNewsCheck reports.
The ruling was applauded by the American Cable Association. Said Matt Polka, ACA president: “In today’s market, consumers have at least three choices for traditional pay-television service and can elect to subscribe to many online video services, like Netflix and Hulu. There is no longer any good reason that cable operators should remain subject to burdensome rate regulation.”
The National Association of Broadcasters was among those opposing the FCC action, arguing that it led to higher cable subscription fees and caused cable operators to broadcast signals off the basic tiers, TVNewsCheck notes.
The report quotes Cowan analyst Paul Gallant saying: “After today’s ruling, it’s likely that all cable operators can at least threaten to put stations in hard-to-find places on the lineup or on less penetrated tiers.”