FCC Eases Media Ownership Restrictions in Vote to Restore UHF Discount

FCC Eases Media Ownership Restrictions in Vote to Restore UHF Discount

FCC Eases Media Ownership Restrictions in Vote to Restore UHF Discount

Sen. Edward MarkeyEd MarkeySenate Dems want Trump to release ethics waivers, visitor logs Dems ask FCC to postpone vote on business data reforms Senate Dem: Trump team moving United States to militaristic solution in North Korea MORE (D-Mass.) blasted the Federal Communications Commission Thursday for a new order easing regulations on special data access lines that critics say will reduce competition and increase prices.

Front and center at the FCC's meeting was a vote on proposed changes to regulations on Business Data Services (BDS) - high-capacity broadband connections created to serve businesses, schools, libraries and government agencies.

"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.

The FCC on Thursday voted to restore an arcane rule that has allowed station groups to fall within media ownership limits. Kerpen said, "The FCC under Tom Wheeler tortured the data to make sure they could continue pushing for onerous regulations like this that pushed their liberal ideology".

"T$3 his Order is one of the worst I have seen in my years at the Commission", Clyburn said.

"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.

In a 2-to-1 party line vote, the regulatory agency revived the so-called UHF discount.

That's important for major companies like Sinclair Broadcast Group, Fox Television Stations, Nexstar, and ION Media Networks in making sure that they fall within the media ownership cap - in which no one company can own stations that collectively reach more than 39% of the country.

Pai, however, argued that the elimination of the discount needed to go hand-in-hand with an examination of the media ownership cap. Frank Pallone wrote to Pai Wednesday.

Pai said FCC price controls were preventing existing providers from expanding their networks and discouraging new entrants, such as cable companies.

"Price regulation, which is the government setting the rates, terms and conditions for special access, is seductive", Pai said. "In reality, price regulation threatens competition and investment because regulators will struggle to set the right price".

"Instead of taking action to promote competition and deployment, serve the public interest, and prevent the exercise of market power that is a drag on the US economy, Chairman Pai and Commissioner O'Reilly have approved an Order that doubles down on incumbent market power, forcing businesses, hospitals, schools, and ultimately consumers to pay more for essential connectivity". The changes will be phased in over three years. 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.

The European Union is concerned that this sudden change of course, followed by the rapid action that is foreseen in the draft Report and Order may be harmful for consumers and competition, and that it will further aggravate the imbalance in BDS regulatory practice that already exists between the USA and EU and other nations.

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