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Monday, June 22, 2009
Professor Scott Rosner on the 1992 Cable Act and Sports Broadcasting

Professor Scott Rosner, the associate director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania, has an engaging op-ed in the San Diego Union-Tribune on sports broadcasting. The op-ed is excerpted below.

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There are four main ways to receive home video service in the United States: traditional over-the-air broadcast, cable, satellite and now over lines from new competitors such as AT&T and Verizon, who have invested billions in infrastructure and marketing. This kind of competition is good because it means lower prices, more innovation and better customer service. It translates into lower bills for consumers as well as an increasing number of HD and non-HD channels, better DVR technology and bundled service. Consumers win as a result of this highly competitive marketplace.

That is, unless you are a sports fan living in San Diego or Philadelphia. The 1992 Cable Act has program access requirements that promote competition and diversity in video programming. The law prevents cable companies from acting in an unfair or anti-competitive manner when selling the huge amount of cable channels and programming that they own.

So why isn't what is happening in San Diego and Philadelphia illegal? In fact, it would be except for a technicality. At the moment the Federal Communications Commission is reviewing the rule that allows this to occur – the “terrestrial loophole” in the federal Cable Act. By their own admission, cable companies are taking advantage of this outdated exception to program-access laws. The loophole makes the law applicable only to satellite-delivered programming and not to programs delivered via a terrestrial signal. It's a technicality that serves no rational purpose.

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To read the rest, click here.


" means lower prices, more innovation and better customer service"

I have never seen these terms used before to describe cable tv.

Blogger SkeptiSys -- 6/23/2009 6:45 PM  

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