[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 148 (Tuesday, August 2, 2011)]
[Pages 46295-46296]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-19519]

[[Page 46295]]



[MB Docket No. 11-128; DA 11-1238]

The Regional Sports Network Marketplace

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Notice; solicitation of comments.


SUMMARY: In the Adelphia Order, the Commission adopted conditions 
addressing concerns regarding regional sports network (RSN) access and 
carriage issues and committed to examine these matters before the 
expiration of the conditions on July 13, 2012. This document requests 
public comment on matters regarding RSN access and carriage that will 
be used for the preparation for a report as provided in the Adelphia 

DATES: Comments may be filed on or before September 9, 2011, and reply 
comments may be filed on or before September 26, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, 
SW.,Washington, DC 20554.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Johanna Thomas (202) 418-7551, TTY 
(202) 418-7172, or e-mail at [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a synopsis of the Commission's 
Public Notice in MB Docket No. 11-128, DA-11-1238, released July 26, 
2010. The complete text of the document is available for inspection and 
copying during normal business hours in the FCC Reference Center, 445 
12th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20554, and may also be purchased from 
the Commission's copy contractor, BCPI, Inc., Portals II, 445 12th 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20054. Customers may contact BCPI, Inc. at 
their Web site http://www.bcpi.com or call 1-800-378-3160.

Synopsis of the Public Notice

    1. By this Public Notice, the Media Bureau seeks comment on issues 
related to regional sports network (RSN) access and carriage to prepare 
a report as provided in the Adelphia Order, released July 21, 2006. In 
the order, the Commission approved the purchase of Adelphia 
Communications Corporation's cable systems by Time Warner Cable Inc. 
(TWC) and Comcast Corporation (Comcast) (collectively, the Applicants) 
subject to several conditions, including RSN access and carriage 
requirements. In particular, the Adelphia Order adopted program access 
conditions preventing the Applicants from entering into any exclusive 
distribution agreements with existing and future affiliated RSNs and 
unduly or improperly influencing the sale of the programming of those 
RSNs to unaffiliated multichannel video programming distributors 
(MVPDs). The Applicants were also required to provide the programming 
of affiliated RSNs to all multichannel video programming distributors 
(MVPDs) pursuant to non-discriminatory terms and conditions. Moreover, 
in the Adelphia Order, the Commission applied the program access rules 
applicable to satellite-delivered, cable-affiliated programming to all 
of the Applicants' affiliated RSNs, regardless of the method of 
delivery. However, the Commission partially exempted Comcast's 
SportsNet Philadelphia from these requirements given that it was 
delivered terrestrially before being acquired by Comcast, and therefore 
the method of delivery was not chosen for anticompetitive purposes. 
Finally, the Commission implemented a dispute resolution process 
allowing aggrieved MVPDs and unaffiliated RSNs respectively to submit 
program access or carriage disputes with the Applicants to an 
    2. In the Adelphia Order, the Commission committed to issue a 
report examining ``regional sports network access and carriage issues 
both on an industry-wide basis and specifically with respect to the 
Applicants'' by January 13, 2012, six months prior to the expiration of 
the RSN conditions. After issuing the report, the Commission, in its 
discretion, may determine if further action is warranted.
    3. The Media Bureau notes that since the Adelphia Order was 
adopted, there have been a number of relevant marketplace and 
regulatory developments. First, Time Warner Inc., the former parent of 
TWC, has been split into three separate, independent companies--TWC, 
Time Warner Inc., and AOL. The RSNs subject to the Adelphia conditions 
remain affiliated with TWC.
    4. Second, the Commission adopted the Comcast-NBCU Order, released 
January 20, 2011, approving the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, 
Inc. (NBCU). In that order, the Commission concluded that commenters 
raised legitimate concerns regarding the combination of Comcast's RSNs 
with NBCU's owned and operated stations. The Commission found, however, 
that any potential harm was mitigated by certain program access 
conditions to which Comcast agreed to be bound. In addition, the 
Commission adopted an arbitration remedy applicable to all Comcast-NBCU 
affiliated programming, including RSNs.
    5. Further, the Commission issued a Program Access Order, released 
October 1, 2007, which among other things, improved the program access 
complaint procedures by allowing for party-to-party discovery and 
expanding opportunities for participation in voluntary arbitration.
    6. With respect to program carriage, in 2007, the Commission issued 
a notice of proposed rulemaking that sought comment on, among other 
things, the Commission's process for resolving program carriage 
disputes. Moreover, since the Adelphia transaction, the Commission has 
specifically addressed program carriage complaints regarding the 
Applicants' and unaffiliated RSNs.
    7. In 2010, the Commission adopted rules allowing aggrieved MVPDs 
to file a complaint regarding access to terrestrially delivered, cable-
affiliated programming. This decision was particularly relevant to the 
RSN marketplace, because several RSNs are delivered terrestrially and 
the Commission has historically classified this type of programming as 
``must-have.'' Additionally, in the Terrestrial Program Access Order, 
released January 20, 2010, the Commission adopted a rebuttable 
presumption that an unfair act involving terrestrially delivered RSNs 
or high-definition RSNs has the purpose and effect of hindering or 
preventing competition in violation of section 628(b) of the 
Communications Act. In Cablevision Systems Corp. v. FCC, the DC Circuit 
upheld the portions of the Commission's order adopting rules regarding 
terrestrially delivered programming and the Commission's adoption of a 
rebuttable presumption involving RSNs.

Issues for Comment

    8. The Media Bureau invites comments generally on issues related to 
RSN access and carriage. What effect, if any, have marketplace and the 
2007 and 2010 program access rules revisions had on MVPDs' ability to 
gain access to RSN programming? Similarly, what impact have regulatory 
and marketplace changes since the Adelphia Order had on the ability of 
unaffiliated RSNs to gain carriage on MVPD systems? Since the release 
of the Adelphia Order has there been an increase in the delivery of 
RSNs by terrestrial means? In addition, has the number of RSNs 
affiliated with a cable operator changed since the release of the 
Adelphia Order? If there has been a change, how does this number 
compare with the overall number of RSNs in the marketplace?

[[Page 46296]]

Are there examples since the release of the Adelphia Order involving 
the withholding of an RSN and what impact has this had on the MVPD 
marketplace? Further, has there been a change in the number of 
exclusive deals involving MVPDs and unaffiliated RSNs since the release 
of the Adelphia Order?
    9. Moreover, the Media Bureau seeks comment on the access of MVPDs, 
other than the Applicants, to RSN programming in which the Applicants 
hold an interest. The Bureau also requests comment on whether 
unaffiliated RSNs have obtained carriage on the Applicants' cable 
systems and on what terms. Finally, the Bureau asks for comment on the 
Applicants' compliance with the Adelphia Order's RSN conditions, the 
dispute resolution process and the effectiveness of these remedies. Do 
such conditions continue to be necessary in light of marketplace and 
regulatory changes since the time of their adoption?

Procedural Matters

    10. Ex Parte Rules. The proceeding this Notice initiates shall be 
treated as a ``permit-but-disclose'' proceeding in accordance with the 
Commission's ex parte rules.\1\ Persons making ex parte presentations 
must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum 
summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after the 
presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine 
period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are 
reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1) List all 
persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which 
the ex parte presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data 
presented and arguments made during the presentation. If the 
presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data 
or arguments already reflected in the presenter's written comments, 
memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide 
citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, 
memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or 
paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of 
summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to 
Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex 
parte presentations and must be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). 
In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has 
made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte 
presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, 
and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic 
comment filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed 
in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). 
Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the 
Commission's ex parte rules.

    \1\ 47 CFR 1.1200 et seq.

    11. Comment Information. Pursuant to 1.415 and 1.419 of the 
Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file 
comments andreply comments on or before the dates indicated on the 
first page of this document. Comments may be filed using: (1) The 
Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), (2) the Federal 
Government's eRulemaking Portal, or (3) by filing paper copies. See 
Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 
     Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/ or the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     For ECFS filers, if multiple docket or rulemaking numbers 
appear in the caption of this proceeding, filers must transmit one 
electronic copy of the comments for each docket or rulemaking number 
referenced in the caption. In completing the transmittal screen, filers 
should include their full name, U.S. Postal Service mailing address, 
and the applicable docket or rulemaking number. Parties may also submit 
an electronic comment by Internet e-mail. To get filing instructions, 
filers should send an e-mail to [email protected], and include the following 
words in the body of the message ``get form.'' A Sample form and 
directions will be sent in response.
     Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must 
file an original and four copies of each filing. If more than one 
docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, 
filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or 
rulemaking number.

Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial 
overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service 
mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, 
Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

     All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings 
for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 
445 12th St., SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours 
are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with 
rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes must be disposed of before 
entering the building.
     Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service 
Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton 
Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
     U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority 
mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20554.
     People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request 
materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille, 
large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to 
[email protected] or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 
202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

Federal Communications Commission.
Thomas Horan
Chief of Staff, Media Bureau.
[FR Doc. 2011-19519 Filed 8-1-11; 8:45 am]