Broadcasters say the agency should make sure that local franchising authorities do not 'impede' more multichannel video providers.

The National Association of Broadcasters today urged the FCC not to allow municipal cable TV franchising authorities to stand in the way of cable competitors.

The FCC is looking into municipal cable franchising as Verizon and AT&T complain that it is slowing their efforts to build multichannel video systems and compete with cable. The telcos are also seeking state or federal preemption of the local franchising authorities.

The FCC should ensure “that local franchising processes do not unreasonably impede the offering of new and innovative…services to consumers,” the NAB said.

“Greater competition in local video programming markets across the country would benefit consumers and programming providers unaffiliated with increasingly consolidated cable operators, including broadcasters,” the trade group said.

“Given broadcasters’ dependence on advertising revenue (and thus on reaching as many viewers as possible), the expansion of our opportunities for reaching consumers must be regarded as positive,” NAB said. “The development of another distribution platform for carrying broadcast programming may also encourage the development of innovative digital television programming, including multicast and high-definition programming.”

NAB also argued that new entrants should be subject to the same regulation as cable. “To maintain a level playing field, the well-established carriage, retransmission consent and program exclusivity policies applicable to traditional multichannel video providers, such as cable operators, should apply in a comparable manner to all new platforms that provide comparable video services.”


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