RCN Has Concerns with News Corp./Hughes Deal

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From our friends at SkyReport.com

Citing concerns with the vertical integration expected to come with News Corp.'s proposed takeover of Hughes and DirecTV, cable overbuilder RCN approached the Federal Communications Commission with its concerns about the pending transaction and the deal's possible impacts on competition in the pay-TV marketplace.

Last week, RCN discussed its issues on the proposed transaction with members of the FCC's Media Bureau. In a filing detailing the meetings, RCN said it expressed concern about the impact the News Corp./Hughes deal will have on program access, especially regional sports networks controlled by News Corp. and FOX, as well as rates, terms and conditions governing retransmission consent agreements.

"If vertical integration between programmers and DBS providers results in the denial of program access for smaller competitors like RCN, competition in the (multichannel) market is substantially harmed," the company said in its FCC filing.

The company added, "Although RCN is the largest competitive broadband overbuilder in the nation, it is nonetheless dwarfed by the 10 largest cable MSOs and the two primary DBS providers, which together control approximately 85 percent of the multichannel video programming distribution market."

RCN also pointed out to commission staff that it doesn't own or control any essential 'must have' programming. "As such, RCN does not have the bargaining power, financial resources or leverage these other entities do in negotiating program access agreements or opposing program access discrimination," the company said.
 
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