Washington

ACA Summit: Sen. Heller Says Video Regs Need Reboot

Says small and midsized operators must be part of conversation 3/13/2013 03:00:40 PM Eastern

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said Wednesday that
it made no sense that cable operators delivering video over a pipe into the
home would be regulated while over-the-top providers are not. "So, you are
left with older companies regulated and newer, innovative companies
unregulated. And they are doing, frankly, the exact same thing."

Heller,
a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, drew applause from the small and
midsized cable operators gathered for the annual American Cable Association
summit in Washington when he said that the
committee should look into outdated cable Act and 1996 Communications Act regs
as part of a broader review of video regulation in general

He
said that as the world barreled toward an all-IP future, he wasn't sure there
was sufficient infrastructure to accommodate 200 million plus households
streaming the Super Bowl.

What
was the government doing about that? Not enough, he said, and pledged to try an
correct that. It will be a tall order given that he is in the minority.

Heller
said he would continue to push for FCC process reform, including cost-benefit
analyses of regulations, making sure when the FCC does make a decision it
doesn't do so "between midnight and 3
a.m.," and that the FCC runs any potential regulatory changes
by industry first.

Heller
had no answer to a question from the audience about whether broadcasters should
be able to continue to "blackmail" cable operators through retrans
negotiations. Heller said the issue was complicated and added that
"everyone is unhappy. He did say that retrans would come up in the Satellite
Television Extension and Localism Act reauthorization, adding that was as it
should be. "I think we should have a broad discussion on the future of
video."

Saying
the Congress needed to factor the challenges of small and mid-sized operators
continuing to provide competitive services into that equation, Heller said:
"I don't think we can move this process [reviewing video regs] forward
without having your voices heard. He assured them he was listening.

March