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Verizon Asks the FCC to Rule on Program Access Complaint

by ‎03-30-2010 10:37 AM - edited ‎03-30-2010 10:37 AM

swoosh.JPGOur New York and New Jersey customers want to know when they’ll see MSG HD on FiOS TV, and they’re asking if a recent court decision will speed the process.


First, a little history.


MSG Network, owned by Cablevision, carries the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres.  As readers of this blog know, Cablevision has refused to sell to us the high definition versions of MSG’s regional sports programming.  They claim that they don't have to, arguing that this programming is not subject to program access rules because it is delivered over fiber instead of by satellite.


Last July, we reported that we had filed a Program Access Complaint with the FCC asking it to require Cablevision to negotiate and sell us this programming.  It was only after we filed a similar complaint in 2006 that Cablevision finally agreed to sell us the MSG sports networks in standard definition.  We asked the FCC to rule on our latest complaint within five months.


We’re still waiting and hope that the FCC will act on our complaint soon.  Earlier this year, the FCC adopted an order confirming our view that the program access statute does apply to this type of programming even when delivered over fiber (thus effectively rejecting Cablevision’s primary defense).  More recently, an appeals court upheld the FCC's program access rules more generally, confirming that cable firms cannot simply deny access to affiliated programming to their satellite TV and telecom competitors. 


Customers want to know if these developments clear the way for Verizon to offer MSG HD.  The short answer is that each was helpful, but that the decision still lies with the FCC.


It’s time for the FCC to act on our program access complaint against Cablevision. Cablevision is unlawfully withholding HD sports programming, and the record in that proceeding is complete. We filed our complaint over eight months ago, and there’s nothing left for the FCC to do but act on it.


Each day that the FCC doesn’t act is another day that FiOS subscribers are being prevented from watching their favorite sports teams in HD, and all customers in the marketplace are denied a more meaningful choice in video providers who can offer the content that people want.


by surreal6 on ‎03-31-2010 08:19 AM

Dumb question but how can Cablevision own these and it not be a conflict of interest?

by bfried7 on ‎04-02-2010 05:17 PM

Cablevision and it’s management have done a lot of harm to the NY region. They can be compared to Bernie Matoff.  Not obeying the law and trying to monopolize sports and TV. Then they try to fool the public with their telling the truth Commercials. It’s outrageous.  The FTC was completely inept in governing Matoff, the Banks and brokers firms.  Let hope the FCC does a better job in protecting the public.

by on ‎04-03-2010 09:06 AM

It was the inept SEC that failed.  And Bernie Madoff is no different than our government.  One is in jail and the other should be.


My opinion is that content should not be owned by a provider.  Cablevision is the clear example of my opinion.

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Bob stays on top of developments and issues with Verizon’s Consumer and Mass Business segment from his home base in Florida. He has been involved with Fios since it was first being developed and deployed in 2004.

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