Verizon Communications said in a Federal Communications Commission filing that traditional legal obligations for cable TV providers to carry certain free TV stations on their networks--the so-called must-carry rule--is no longer necessary because the cable TV market is much more competitive now. Verizon is not seeking to protect the cable TV industry, only itself, as the telco becomes an increasingly successful provider of cable TV-like services.
The FCC is currently considering expanding the must-carry rule to a larger number of low-power TV stations. More than 1,700 full power TV stations and a few low-power stations currently qualify for must-carry.
It is interesting to see Verizon play the role of upstart competitor, looking for some regulatory relief on the grounds that it is not a dominant force in the market. That claim has some relevance now, but perhaps not for long.
- check out this coverage at Multichannel News
The digital TV transition also carries a must-carry obligation
Some cable TV programming giants also have challenged the rule