Economy

FCC clears way for big TV mergers, eases broadband price limits

FCC clears way for big TV mergers, eases broadband price limits

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made good today on his vow to reinstate a rule that makes it easier for big TV station owners to grow bigger.

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday for new light-touch rules aimed at broad business broadband deregulation, loosening price caps and restrictions created to boost competition in the market that provides high-capacity internet to businesses, hospitals, libraries, schools, public safety offices, ATM networks, and cell phone networks. The data showed that approximately 97 percent of business customer locations had access to two or fewer BDS providers, with almost three-in-four locations with only a monopoly provider. Democrats in Congress have raised their fears with the commission that more consolidation could harm consumers.

BDS generated a number of back-and-forth debates during Tom Wheeler's tenure as FCC chairman.

The FCC on Thursday voted to restore an arcane rule that has allowed station groups to fall within media ownership limits.

The National Association of Broadcasters high-fived the 3-2 vote to reinstate the discount.

The FCC says today that the decision restricted deals "without any analysis of whether this tightening was warranted given current marketplace conditions".

Pai, however, argued that the elimination of the discount needed to go hand-in-hand with an examination of the media ownership cap. Currently, Sinclair Broadcast is said to be nearing a potential deal to acquire Tribune Media's 42 TV stations, and large broadcast powers like Nexstar Media and CBS have both expressed interest in expanding their broadcast TV footprints should the FCC revert back to the old ownership rules. The agency's 2011 Information Needs of Communities Report (INC Report) recommended such action, and in a statement accompanying the 2012 proceeding, former Chairman Genachowski said, "Allowing noncommercial stations to partner with charities, churches, and other religious organizations, schools, and other non-profits to raise money for worthy causes will enable these stations to help meet the needs of their local communities".

A Sinclair/Tribune deal "would be bad news for consumers" because it would reduce independent voices in some markets and could lead to higher pay-TV bills because Sinclair charges more than Tribune for cable companies to carry their stations, Pelosi and Pallone wrote.

FCC officials said the new business data services rules are aimed at allowing competition rather than regulation to determine pricing.

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

Clyburn complained that the new rules define a market as competitive even if it has only one bulk broadband provider, as long as a competitor has access lines within half a mile.

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.

"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 USA economy, Chairman [Ajit] Pai and Commissioner [Michael] 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", Berenbroick said.


  • Canadiens coach defends Pacioretty, shrugs off hit on Price

    Pacioretty, a 35-goal scorer in the regular season, has one assist in four playoff games and he leads the team with 19 shots. Note: Montreal defenceman Alexei Emelin is moving closer to a return after missing four with an undisclosed injury.

    Zuckerberg has Some Ambitious Plans for Facebook

    He also hinted at the firm's more distant future, confirming rumours it is developing a radical mind reading computer interface. The Facebook boss described the previous rollout of camera functionality across all of Facebook's apps as "act one".

    Tesco PLC (TSCO) Given Underperform Rating at Credit Suisse Group AG

    Finally, First Trust Advisors LP raised its position in shares of HSBC Holdings plc by 78.4% in the third quarter. Dunelm Group plc presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of GBX 717.80 ($8.91).
  • Carbon fibre cornucopia: BMW HP4 RACE superbike - Price £68000 (INR 58 lakh)

    Coated titanium pistons, Brembo GP4 PR monoblock aluminium brake calipers, and braking system are also borrowed from race bikes. The BMW HP4 is the world's first series production bike with a carbon fibre main frame and will be limited to 750 units.

    Brighton on brink of promotion after 2-1 win over Wigan

    We have to strengthen, that goes without saying. We were in a bad position when he came in. The first stage was to get us to stay up.

    UK Parliament approves Prime Minister's early election call

    May said that an election will take place in just six weeks' time on June 8, saying it is in "the national interest" to do so. Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow, said the logic of holding an early general election was "quite compelling".
  • The Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI) Stake Lowered by Profund Advisors LLC

    The last close places the company's stock about $6.77 off its 52 week high of $23.69 and $5.99 above the 52 week low of $10.93. The firm owned 56,232 shares of the basic materials company's stock after selling 238,402 shares during the period.

    Ex-Girlfriend of Cleveland Killer Meets with Robert Godwin Sr.'s Children

    Stephens filmed and then posted the video of the attack to Facebook, but was found dead in his vehicle on Tuesday. The Godwin sisters told Lane that none of this was her fault and that they don't hold any animosity for her.

    Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition appeals for annulment of referendum

    The German government has also questioned the vote after the European Union called for a probe into the result. According to Turkish law, unstamped ballots are invalid because it opens up the possibility of fraud.
  • Much Vaunted US Carrier Strike Group Actually Nowhere Near North Korea

    It's hard for the president to exercise an option he doesn't really have. Stay up-to-date with the latest news, stories and insider events.

    Donald Trump calls Canada 'disgraceful' in row over protectionism

    President Donald Trump speaks on Marchh 24 about the House pulling its legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Proponents of the system say it keeps prices stable and protects small farmers from seasonal fluctuations.

    US concerned Venezuela not allowing opposition to be heard: Tillerson

    Chavez himself survived a brief coup in 2002, and accused the United States of trying to subvert him. MARGARET WARNER: The Maduro regime is also under pressure from its Latin American neighbors.