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- The Big Freeze
No Option From Broadcasters
As we look forward to the holiday season and the end of 2017, as a local cable provider we face the endless nightmare of rising costs and uncertainty for local channels. Every three years, Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative (ITC) is required to negotiate retransmission consent agreements with affiliate broadcast stations: ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. With our current contracts set to expire by the end of December, negotiations are underway. Once again, broadcasters’ demands are foreshadowing unreasonably high retransmission fees for our cable TV viewers. While some consumers get their local channels over an antenna for free, our cable TV subscribers pay an extra fee, a “retransmission fee.” In some instances, ITC actually enhances the signal in some rural areas where a quality video signal would be unavailable to receive.
Simply put, broadcasters are ruthless. They use abusive tactics like blackouts to extort money from cable operators and consumers. Recently, you may have seen TV ads that help translate the message of the high and rising costs from broadcasters. Here are some things you should know:
- Retransmission costs are paid to each broadcaster/network owner based on the number of TV subscribers whether you watch their channel or not.
- ITC customers pay a “retransmission fee to local broadcasters” each month. This fee is the cost that ITC is currently negotiating.
- In 2012, ITC TV customers paid $3.16/month for retransmission fees. In 2017, customers are paying $11.53/month.
- If broadcasters’ new demands go into effect, retransmission fees will nearly double again!
- ITC does not make money on these fees; most of the money goes out-of-state.
We want to assure you we are doing everything we can to keep retransmission fees as low as possible. Unfortunately, when it comes to negotiations, affiliate broadcasters hold the upper hand. If we don’t accept their demands, broadcasters can force us to remove their channel which would leave you in the dark. We encourage you to contact our Congressional leaders in Washington, DC. We face an unfair treatment compared to large cable companies and simply have no negotiating power.
ITC appreciates your business and your support. We will continue to keep you updated as negotiations are finalized.
-ITC Board of Directors