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 SBCA Sends Letter to Powell on Program Access

Honorable Michael Powell


Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street, S.W.

Washington, DC 20554


Dear Chairman Powell:


            We were very pleased to read that you expect the Commission to initiate a review of the program access provisions of the 1992 Cable Act.  The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association strongly supports extension of the program access rules, and we will continue to make every effort to ensure that they remain a cornerstone of our nation’s video competition policies.


            Program access has played an important role in the successful development of Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) services.  Despite the gains DBS has made since its inception in 1994, cable nevertheless remains the dominant provider in the market, delivering service to 80 percent of all subscribers to multichannel video program distributor (MVPD) services.  Though the market share of the DBS providers continues to grow, only 15 percent of MVPD subscribers receive satellite service.


We also encourage the Commission to recommend to Congress that it close the loophole whereby a vertically integrated program service can evade the program access rules by switching its program distribution to terrestrial-based means from satellite delivery.  This evasion reduces competition and violates the intent of Congress that all multichannel video program distributors have the opportunity to acquire vertically integrated programming on a fair and non-discriminatory basis.   


Clearly, the rules governing program access remain critical to increasing choice and competition in the MVPD market.  We applaud your interest in this important consumer issue, and we look forward to working with you during the review process. 




            Charles C. Hewitt