Sunday, 25 June, 2017

FCC votes to allow some broadcasters to buy more TV stations

FCC's Mark Wigfield: 'The FCC Will Do What Is Best for the American People' EU Complains Trump's FCC Is Making US Tech Business Too Easy
Theresa Hayes | 21 April, 2017, 18:35

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday for new light-touch rules aimed at broad business broadband deregulation, loosening price caps and restrictions created to boost competition in the market that provides high-capacity internet to businesses, hospitals, libraries, schools, public safety offices, ATM networks, and cell phone networks.

Pai said the UHF discount and the cap were "inextricably linked" and it made no sense to change one without considering a change to the other.

"I could not be more pleased with Chairman Pai's leadership of the FCC in the short time he has taken the helm", Johnson added.

"The commission just wrapped up and put a bow on a huge gift for those large broadcasters, with ambitious dreams of more consolidation", she said at the meeting.

You may view our latest video on the FCC's anti-consumer agenda here. The UHF discount would make some media organizations less likely to reach the cap by lowering the amount certain organizations are worth. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, wrote to Pai this week opposing the change.

"That doesn't happen in free markets with competitive choice".

"The UHF Loophole is unfair to the public because it treats UHF stations differently only for one goal _ to let big station conglomerates own more stations across the country", they wrote. He gave up on the attempt to stiffen regulations on the $45 billion market after the November election when Republican lawmakers urged him not to push controversial measures in the weeks before party control of the FCC switched. This market connects everything from banks, ATMs and cell towers to the internet, but has long faced monopoly control by only a handful of large telcos (usually AT&T, Verizon or CenturyLink).

Pai, who was named by U.S. President Donald Trump to head the FCC in January, said it will begin a comprehensive review of the national cap this year. The regulations require incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) to lease portions of their networks to smaller competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) like Sprint and Level 3 at regulated rates to boost competition.

The FCC voted to eliminate price regulations in competitive markets and reduce the rules in noncompetitive ones to try to lure new entrants. A market will be considered competitive if 50% of the buildings in a county are within a half-mile of a location served by a competitive provider or 75% of the census bocks in a county have a cable provider present. "Regulators will always struggle to set the right price".

The proposed change, which has the support of all three commissioners at the agency, also has been praised by upstart internet service providers that have had trouble gaining access to utility poles in areas dominated by major networks.

"The ... American people deserve access to this information, whether it involves a commercial or noncommercial station using the public airwaves", she said.

"With today's vote on business data services, the FCC now stands for Forgetting Choice and Competition", said Senator Markey.

Advocacy group Public Knowledge said the decision "doubles down on incumbent market power, forcing businesses, hospitals, schools, and ultimately consumers to pay more for essential connectivity".