Black Caucus Opposes a la Carte

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Rep. Nathan Deal's (R-Ga.) a la carte bill has been withdrawn, but the Congressional Black Caucus still wants to be on the record in opposition to it.

The group sent a letter to House Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton and ranking member John Dingell saying the bill, which would have allowed satellite providers to offer program services on a per-channel basis, would reduce program diversity and raise the costs to subscribers. 

They also argued it would have kept minority-targeted channels like ESPN Desportes and TV One from launching. "These channels cannot survive with only the subscription fees they charge," the group argues, and could not retain a sufficiently broad potential ad base." The result would be having to charge higher fees, which would be passed along to subscribers. Another outcome would be that the channels would fold.

Though the bill is dead, the issue lives on, which may be another reason the letter was sent.

To placate Deal, Barton and House Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton have asked the FCC to study the feasibility of an a la carte requirement. The two Republicans are also asking ranking Democratic Dingell and Ed Markey to sign on to the request.