A Meditation on being the Most Screwed City in the Country when it comes to Pay-TV, as expressed through my Inbox

Thank you both for this information. The upshot is satellite providers will go out of business because they can’t compete with pay-TV providers that can also offer broadband.So there will only be two choices: the phone-video company and the video-phone company, unless you want to live on your cell phone. Right?

So, in Philadelphia, Verizon and Comcast will ultimately be the only possible service providers. Comcast already owns this city. Verizon will only consider extending service to Philadelphia if they get the legislation they want from Harrisburg (where the House Consumer Affairs Committee is holding a “wrap-up cable competition meeting“).

And even then they still won’t because Comcast is not required to license their local SportsNet to them, thanks to a special dispensation from the FCC. So we will have Comcast and only Comcast, with no end in sight.

Is Philadelphia completely screwed?

The only hope for Philadelphia out of this state legislation is a pledge from Verizon that they will build out the entire city of Philadelphia and a pledge from Comcast to license local content to its competitor. It’s far from my media utopia, but that seems like a fair exchange to me.

Public access stations should be allowed to opt-in to a “local content license package” for all of the local channels, with the fee divided by viewer share, or to license their channels on their own. This would make a new line of revenue available that would expand if the station got more viewers in the first case or if it offered better content in the second.

Rural areas are messed up for a different reason. The only place where satellite service has been growing is in more sparsely-populated areas where the wireline companies don’t reach. If satellite goes out of business, that option is shot. Without a cable, fiber optic, or satellite option, they are out of luck for TV and the World Wide Web. I’d love to hear what they want from the legislation to address that problem.

Now that I think about it, there is a third option for Philadelphia: Earthlink WiFi bundled with DirecTV.

(I’m told Verizon is already offering a bundle in Philadelphia that includes satellite TV. Has anyone else seen this? This might also be on option for fulfilling universal buildout requirements.)

The problem is, that might work in Philadelphia, but DirecTV can’t survive on Philadelphia alone. However, Earthlink is building or trying to build wireless broadband networks throughout the country. So maybe Earthlink should just buy DirecTV. Or maybe News Corp should buy Earthlink.

Uh oh.

At 1:55 PM -0400 9/19/06, Harold Feld wrote:
>My take: http://www.publicknowledge.org/articles
>At 09:44 AM 9/19/2006, lcintron texasmep.org wrote:
>>As many of you might have expected, the slicing of our airwaves has been
>>completed with the final results: US COs 1087 licenses to US Residents 0.
>>To see the official release and/or listing of TOP bidders and/or ‘small’
>>companies that they applied as, vist:
>>NOTE: Link takes you all to a complete listing of who/whom/what as well as
>>a map of the US that shows the areas of wireless coverage. For those
>>attempting to address FCC concerns SAY TODAY IN AUSTIN, might be helpful
>>towards low power FM as additional research.
>>Thanks for your time.
>>Louis A. Cintron
>>Systems Administrator
>>Texas Media Empowerment Project
>>lcintron texasmep.org
>>Activist mailing list
>>Activist mediatank.org
>Activist mailing list


1 Comment

  1. Sparky said

    Yes, Verizon does offer a satellite package link with DirecTV, which is a tad cheaper then buying it on your own, but its like buying it from those 3rd party groups, not that big a discount.

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