Court Upholds FCC Cable Rate Deregulation

Jul 7, 2017  •  Post A Comment

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.”


  1. Cable operators still have a monopoly over most geographic areas. Dish and DirectTV shouldn’t be considered cable operators–they are satellite services that require large dishes, that need to be connected to a house or a building for each TV. Reception is also questionable during storms.

    Meanwhile, cable providers like Comcast are billing for duplicates (or triplets) of the same channels. Most, if not all, local stations and cable channels are appearing on three different channels–for the same signal. Netflix and Hulu also don’t air the local stations—and Dish and DirectTV don’t carry any of the local stations’ sub-channels . Cable companies, like Comcast, are also charging between $6-10 for each cable box that must be rented through them to watch their service. They don’t consider that a monopoly.

  2. Let them keep it going down that rat hole. They think cord cutting is an inconvenience now? Just wait.

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