ACA Pushes for Access to Outside DMA Broadcasts

Last week, the American Cable Association pressed the Federal Communications Commission to further scrutinize retransmission consent rules and whether consumers should have access to local and regional programming from adjacent DMAs.

In a filing on the matter, the organization representing small, independent cable operators said the big four broadcast networks and their affiliates prevent MSOs from offering in-state broadcast signals from other cities, usually by contractually prohibiting affiliates from granting retransmission consent to cable systems in adjacent cities and towns.

"The networks and their affiliates do so even when this practice results in cable customers having limited or no access to in-state broadcast signals," ACA said in its comments.

ACA President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Polka said cable customers "are unable to watch important local weather or coverage of their state capital, or even political advertising because their community falls outside the DMA. The DMAs were not designed to be literal borders separating communities from one another or important information, but under these regulations, that is exactly what has happened."

ACA encouraged the FCC to open a rulemaking on the issue.