Cable companies have been required to provide access to satellite-delivered programming to MVPD competitors, and now that the terrestrial exception has been eliminated, the access rules also apply to terrestrially-delivered programming, like regional sports networks. Verizon is therefore pressing for that access.
In particular, Verizon is seeking access to Cablevision/Madison Square Garden’s MSG and MSG+ networks.
“Cablevision’s anticompetitive withholding of programming is harming not only Verizon, but also consumers by denying them competitive choice,” Verizon said in its FCC filing. “Consumers who would otherwise have FiOS as an alternative to Cablevision do not view FiOS as a competitive option due to the lack of MSG and MSG+ in HD.”
Verizon continued, “Consumers continue to be denied the full benefits of meaningful competitive choice because Verizon still cannot offer its customers access to the high-definition feeds of the must-have regional sports programming that defendants own and control. Verizon requests that the commission act promptly to grant our complaint.”
The initial Verizon complaint against Cablevision dates back to 7/7/09. The FCC commissioners voted to eliminate the terrestrial exception early in 2010.