FCC reinstates UHF discount, likely opening broadcast TV M&A floodgates

Chip Somodevilla  Getty

Chip Somodevilla Getty

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he plans to take a new look at the current overall limit on companies owning stations serving no more than 39 percent of USA television households.

Sen. Edward MarkeyEd MarkeySenate Dems want Trump to release ethics waivers, visitor logs Dems ask FCC to postpone vote on business data reforms Senate Dem: Trump team moving USA to militaristic solution in North Korea MORE (D-Mass.) blasted the Federal Communications Commission Thursday for a new order easing regulations on special data access lines that critics say will reduce competition and increase prices. Their reported desire to combine would create a company whose total audience would have exceeded a statutory cap under the FCC's former rules that limit reach to 39% of the nation's television households.

Large telecom companies such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. provide special connections to heavy data users such as banks, retailers, schools and hospitals for services such as ATMs, credit-card authorizations and general Internet access.

"Organizations calling for delay urged BDS action late previous year, vouching for the robust record of evidence before the FCC now", the chairman added.

The FCC approved a change to the rules that will now allow noncommercial educational broadcasters to avoid having to submit personal information about all board members or directors, a burden added to NCEs in a JANUARY 2016 revision of the ownership reporting rules.

The vote was 2 to 1, with commissioner Mignon Clyburn offering a scathing review of the policy. More than a decade of FCC data revealed 73 percent of the BDS market is only served by one provider and 97 percent served by only one or two. He said that the FCC would start just such a proceeding later this year.

'Unchecked' Iran could become another N Korea
Analysts and former government officials said it was unlikely the Trump administration would renounce the Iran agreement. The second is the extent to which Trump's administration will attempt to weaken Iran's position in the Middle East.

Pai, however, argued that the elimination of the discount needed to go hand-in-hand with an examination of the media ownership cap.

That's likely to have its impact on big station owners, including Sinclair Broadcast Group (NASDAQ:SBGI), which is reportedly considering a bid for Tribune Media (TRCO -0.5%) in the high 30s per share. Frank Pallone wrote to Pai Wednesday. The EU encouraged the FCC to rethink this proposal to consider how it might affect European companies. The rule deregulates pricing in a majority of counties and more than 90 percent of buildings using the services.

"Price regulation is seductive", he said. The order would allow market forces to set the prices of data lines rather than regulations, Pai and fellow Republican, Commissioner Michael O'Rielly, insisted.

Following a transition period, ILECs in counties meeting the competitive market test will no longer be required to file tariffs with the FCC.

"Instead of taking action to promote competition and deployment, serve the public interest, and prevent the exercise of market power that is a drag on the US economy, Chairman [Ajit] Pai and Commissioner [Michael] O'Reilly have approved an order that doubles down on incumbent market power, forcing businesses, hospitals, schools and ultimately consumers to pay more for essential connectivity", Berenbroick said.

"Ultimately, these price hikes will be passed on to consumers, and American families and businesses will pay dearly for the green light the FCC has given to the unfettered exercise of market power by dominant telecommunications providers", said Phillip Berenbroick, senior policy counsel at Public Knowledge, a digital rights group.

Recommended News

  • 'Thirsty' burglar breaks into Drake's home, raids rapper's fridge

    'Thirsty' burglar breaks into Drake's home, raids rapper's fridge

    The rapper feels it would be unfair to prosecute her since no one was harmed and nothing major was stolen. There were no signs of forced entry, according to investigators.

    Trump orders review of Iran nuclear deal; Tillerson says Iran complying

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in Riyadh that Iran is playing a destabilizing role in the Middle East. The White House will not, he said, adopt President Obama's failed approach of "strategic patience".
    Eli Manning insists he did nothing wrong in memorabilia suit

    Eli Manning insists he did nothing wrong in memorabilia suit

    Steiner later told ESPN he was out of the country when the story broke and had not yet had a chance to speak to Manning. Steiner admits that the chain of custody isn't flawless with game-used items. "Yes, I lose sleep because I see this".
  • Tesla Recalls 53k Cars For Parking Brake Problem

    Tesla Recalls 53k Cars For Parking Brake Problem

    But Tesla adds that, is "in order to be cautious" it is acting proactive I replacing the parts to head off any potential issues. The company announced the recall on its website, noting that a the issue "could prevent the parking brake from releasing".
    Trump confident in Sisi's commitment to protecting christians in Egypt

    Trump confident in Sisi's commitment to protecting christians in Egypt

    The attacks on Palm Sunday prompted condemnation and solidarity internationally. "I don't know how this happened". The blast in Egypt's second-largest city came hours after a bomb struck in a Coptic church in Tanta.

    Why did U.S. really attack Syria?

    State Department said Tillerson did not eliminate the possibility the United States may undertake future strikes. The Kremlin had previously declined to confirm Putin would meet Tillerson, reflecting the renewed tension.
  • NFL champs to visit Trump hours after ex-player's death

    NFL champs to visit Trump hours after ex-player's death

    Hernandez - who played for the Patriots from 2010 to 2012 - was serving a life sentence for a murder conviction. The team's White House visit caps a dramatic Super Bowl victory.

    Tags: North Korea | carl vinson | carrier

    North Korea said Monday that it is prepared to conduct frequent missile tests despite warnings from the USA not to do so. President Donald Trump also touted the dispatch, saying the U.S.is sending an "armada" to waters off Korea.

    Micro Machines is making a comeback this summer

    Micro Machines is a great party title that if done right could flourish on the strength of its variety of online game modes. The trailer also reveals up to twelve players can compete in a race, plus the addition of new weapons and new game modes.
  • Samsung Regains Top Spot in Global Smartphone Market

    And now Samsung's latest flagship smartphones have been pitted against its biggest rival the iPhone 7 Plus in a series of tests. The Samsung Galaxy J7 Perx has an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash and a 5-megapixel front camera.

    Jefferies & Co reiterated John Wood Group PLC (ADR) (LON:WG) as 'Underperform'

    The Firm is engaged in developing, manufacturing and commercializing products based on its hyaluronic acid technology. Also, insider Rodney Cook sold 199,022 shares of the company's stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 14th.

    New Brunswick dairy farmers say Donald Trump's comments not a concern

    Cuomo and Walker are by no means the only top government officials concerned about Canada's attitudes toward the dairy trade. Grassland said the move was due to new trade rules that allow Canadian processors to buy milk cheaper from Canadian farmers.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.