FCC Votes to Eliminate RSN Loophole

Cable operators that do not share their owned terrestrially delivered regional sports networks with their competitors will be presumed to be in violation of FCC rules against unfair acts or practices.

According to Multichannel News, the FCC’s majority ruling on Wednesday aims to take action against what it sees as a loophole for multichannel video providers to withhold must-have programming from competitors.

A chief reason for the decision was evidence of cable operators withholding major sports programming, including must-have cable-affiliated regional sports nets in San Diego, Philadelphia, and most notably New York where Cablevision is refusing to share HD feeds of sports networks that it owns.

While Verizon, AT&T, DirecTV, and Dish Network are no doubt pleased by the decision, this ruling just allows the affected parties to go through a complaint process and show how they are being harmed before the FCC might take any action.

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