FCC rebuffs cable firms on sports

The Federal Communications Commission has voted to stop cable operators from withholding local sports channels from rivals in the US, potentially giving consumers more choice of pay-TV providers.

Federal law requires cable operators to offer access to channels they partially or wholly own to rivals at reasonable rates. But the law includes a loophole that allows cable companies to deny access if the channel’s video feed doesn’t travel via satellite at some point between the TV studio and the consumer’s home.

Satellite operators and phone companies had complained that the loophole put them at a competitive disadvantage since many consumers want to watch live local sporting events from home.

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