Independent Vermont Senator Bernie
Sanders wants the FCC to disallow satellite service from qualifying as
effective competition to cable service in his home state.
In a letter to the FCC dated May
Sanders argues that should be the case because satellite operators do not have PEG
obligations and because the Mountains in his state means that satellite is not
an option for "a significant number of households."
Sanders is looking to lower the
basic rate of dominant provider Comcast by reversing a series of FCC effective
competition determinations dating back 10 years, in which DirecTV and DISH
were cited as providing sufficient competition to cable.
His pitch was that in a down
economy with constituents pitching pennies, cable rates were "spiraling
out of control."
Sanders said he was not suggesting
the FCC ignore the effective competition standard, which after all was a
mandate from Congress, but to apply it differently, so that cable operators aren't
"insulated" from basic rate regs by the presence of satellite service.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.