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NCTC Gets Equal Bargaining Status July 20

The FCC's new rules granting cable buying groups--notably the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) the same retransmission consent good faith bargaining protections as individual operators will take effect July 20, the FCC said Thursday (June 18). 

The rules, which were mandated by Congress in the Television Viewer Protection Act (TVPA), also define what qualifies as a covered buying group. 

The FCC issued the Report and Order adopting the rules May 13 with the notation that they would take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, which happened Thursday. 

Smaller cable operators have banded together under the National Cable Television Cooperative to negotiate better deals for TV station carriage than they could on their own when going up against large TV station groups.  

NCTC collectively represents "hundreds" of smaller operators in programming negotiations, including broadcast stations, but is not currently covered by the FCC's requirement that those negotiations be conducted in good faith, as they must be with individual MVPDs.  

The Congressional directive was a big victory for ACA Connects, which had long pushed for NCTC recognition.