Cox Will Give AT&T, Others Access To Padres Games
Move follows FCC decision to subject terrestrially-delivered regional nets to access regulation
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/16/2010 9:42:51 AM
The FCC last Jaunuary voted to get rid of the exemption from access regulations for terrestrially delivered regional nets like Cox-4 in San Diego, which has the rights to the Padres games.
Under the FCC's newly narrowed rules, cable operators that do not share their owned terrestrially delivered regional sports networks with their competitors will be presumed to be in violation FCC rules against unfair acts or practices.
"We are using Fox networks to help us negotiate potential negotiation deals with other folks for Channel 4," said Cox spokesman Todd Smith, citing both "business reasons" and the FCC's rule change. Why Fox? "They are used to negotiating carriage deals and we are used to distributing networks," said Cox.
He said there is no deal yet, but that Cox has "contacted other carriers that have expressed interest in the past." He confirmed that includes AT&T as well as DISH and DirecTV.
Back in March 2009, the FCC denied AT&T's program access complaint against Cox. The telephone company had said Cox's refusal to give it access to must-have San Diego Padres games on Cox-4 hampered AT&T's effort to acquire and retain subs for U-verse.
The FCC said that since Cox-4 was terrestrially delivered, it was beyond the FCC's reach because of the terrestrial exemption. While cable operators were required by law to provide nondiscriminatory access to "satellite-delivered" channels in which they own a financial interest, the FCC had felt constrained by that language when it came to complaints against terrestrially-delivered networks like some regional news/sports nets.
Now, the FCC has invited those whose complaints had been rejected under the old scheme to take another crack. AT&T did, and in April a couple of California congressman asked FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to act on that re-filed complaint.
"The Federal Communications Commission's order was very helpful along with their willingness to convene a meeting to get all parties together," said AT&T in a statement. "We are now in negotiations with Cox and are hopeful that this issue can be resolved so our customers can enjoy the baseball season and cheer for the home team."
I have been waiting for years to get the Padres on DTV and did not wish to give up my DTV subscription, which I like for the NFL broadcasts of all the games. Will the Padres' telecasts be available this baseball season, 2010? Thx
Ned Sloan - 6/23/2010 7:50:51 PM EDT
This is great news, as a Padres fan in the San Diego area, this has been desperately needed. I would love to get rid of Time Warner Cable, and once 4SD becomes available, hello DirecTV!
Tom Wellman - 6/16/2010 2:16:23 PM EDT
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