Cable Industry Lobby Criticizes FCC Network Carriage Order

"We are profoundly disappointed not only in what the FCC did but how they did it," says NCTA head Michael Powell about the order that allows a network that files an FCC complaint amid a carriage dispute to remain on the air.

NEW YORK - Smaller and independent cable networks may rejoice, but the cable industry isn't happy with an FCC order ensuring that channels don't get dropped by TV distributors during carriage disputes.

Under the order, if a network owner gets into a carriage dispute and files an FCC complaint, the network must continue to be carried under a "temporary standstill of the price, terms and other conditions of an existing programming contract" while the regulator makes a decision.

The government agency can also decide that a network must be distributed by cable and satellite companies if its owner convinces the FCC that it is being discriminated against, according to the regulatory order.

"We are profoundly disappointed not only in what the FCC did but how they did it," said Michael Powell, president and CEO of cable industry group NCTA. “The FCC’s program carriage decision represents an unfortunate trifecta: a flawed process that the FCC stubbornly refused to correct, substantive policy discussions that show little regard for the limits of agency authority or constitutional rights, and a disturbing lack of appreciation of the potential impact of government intervention on consumers or the marketplace."

He added: "Regrettably, we must now explore other avenues for redress.”