I read today on Skyreport that the Consumer Union made a filing with the FCC regarding the infamous "terrestrial loophole," and as I had a couple of extra minutes I sent an email to the FCC chairman with my thoughts.
I know I am a very small David attacking a couple of large Goliaths, and this will only ever be read by an aide if I am lucky, but it was nice to vent a bit. Just thought I would share this here. I am not naive, and I realize this is a small drop in a rather large bucket, but at least it killed 15 minutes at work rather nicely.
Of course, if a miracle happens and the loophole closes, I claim complete credit...:lol:
I realize that I am but one voice, but I wanted to make a point about the "terrestrial loophole", regarding the ability for cable TV providers to prevent regional sports networks from providing a feed to satellite television companies. I understand the Consumer Union recently filed a statement with the FCC regarding this, and I just wanted to add my thoughts as a consumer.
I live in Suburban Philadelphia. Comcast is the cable provider in my area. However, they have claimed for years that they cannot provide service to my address, as there is "not enough room on the utility poles." The fact that the poles have been changed at least twice does not seem to matter. Comcast will not provide either cable television or broadband internet. Verizon has yet to reach our area as well, so my only option is satellite service. While I suspect that the fact that there are only 3 homes on my road and the cable run would be very long is more of the issue, I will accept their explanation for bypassing me at face value. The end result is, Comcast will not provide me service, and has shown no effort to overcome any obstacles that may exist to facilitate service for my family.
Thanks to the terrestrial loophole, Comcast is able to deny DirecTV, my provider, with a feed of their Comcast Sports Network. Comcast not only owns the network and delivery system, they are part owners of the sports teams shown on the network, and at least one of the stadiums where the games are played. Some state tax money was used to subsidize that stadium. I realize my individual contribution to that subsidy was minimal, but it still galls me that I do not even have the right to pay for the privilege of watching sports events in that stadium when public money was used to Comcast's advantage. I feel as though I am being bullied by a corporation. Comcast is creating an increase my taxes, limiting my choice of providers to none, and denying me access to my "home" sports teams.
Comcast often cites DirecTV's exclusive access to Sunday Ticket for the NFL as a reason for keeping the Comcast Sports Network exclusive. What they don't mention is the fact that they were simply outbid for Sunday Ticket in a private transaction. Also, the Sunday Ticket is exclusively an out of market program. DirecTV is denying no one in Philadelphia access to its home team, the Eagles. I can watch every Eagles game. I cannot see a significant number of Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers games. In fact, I was even denied access to Flyers play-off games last year, games traditionally provided on a national basis. I also cannot access college, national programming of second tier sports such as major league lacrosse, or national sports shows from Fox Sports because my regional network is dark for me. Frankly, the Sunday Ticket issue is an argument between three rather large corporations (Comcast, DirecTV and the NFL). I should not be held "hostage" as part of their maneuverings.
Please consider closing this loophole in the law. It is anticompetitive and simply unfair. Comcast Sports Network will only increase viewership, and thereby increase their advertising revenues. If they fear they will lose subscribers to satellite, they should re-evaluate their systems to be ensure consumer satisfaction and retention. Comcast will survive quite nicely, and I will finally have access to the home games of the Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers.
Thank you for your attention.