FCC Eyes Retrans Effect on Rurals

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The Federal Communications Commission Tuesday said it will study whether rural cable operators are hurt by retransmission-consent rules that require pay TV distributors to get permission from stations before carrying their signals.

Also being examined are nonduplication rules that prevent pay-TV operators from carrying network programming into markets where an affiliate of the network is already operating.

Restrictions on cable and satellite carriage of syndicated and sports programming are also being examined. The study is required by satellite TV legislation enacted in December.

Besides input on possible competitive harm done to rural cable systems, the FCC is seeking suggestions for needed changes in its rules or the law. Comments are due March 1 and the FCC must submit its report to Congress by Sept. 8.

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