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Message James Jones
An FCC ruling that prevented large companies from refusing to sell program content, owned by their parent or associated companies, is scheduled to expire this year. This ruling was designed to create competition in the cable and satelite tv business. It prevented monster cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable from having a monopoly on programming. Small cable companies, and satelite tv would have a very difficult time, competing with the giants, if they could not buy content for their programming.

With the aquisition of Adelphia's five million customers, Time Warner and Comcast have become even more of a monopoly. Competing cable companies, telephone companies like Verizon and ATT, and newly emerging internet television providers need to be able to offer programming of interest to viewers. If these giant companies can refuse to sell movies and other content that they own to the competition, it will severely limit the ability of smaller companies to compete.

As you know, the customer is the one to suffer, when there is no competition. This is true in business and in government. After they eliminate the competition, and any hints of government regulation, they get to do whatever they want, and who's to stop them?

While I question the FCC and the SEC decisions, allowing Comcast and Time Warner Cable to gobble up bankrupt Adelphia, creating even bigger monopolies, I strongly feel that these monopolies should not be able to also control the content we watch.

A free press helps to keep government honest. Industry giants control how we get our programming. If they control the programming we watch, they could also control the news and views.

Internet television, offering thousands of channels over your computer, is an emerging competitor to cable and satelite. They need access to programming, in order to compete. The FCC should make sure that they are included in this ruling. Don't let the giants squeeze them out by limiting the programming they can buy. Many of these companies have already been told, by programmers, that they won't sell them content, because the are afraid of losing their giant cable accounts.

It is imperarive that consumers contact the Federal Communications Commission immediately! Tell them that you want this ruling, to prevent monopolizing programming, to be renewed. And be sure to mention that it should also cover internet tv. If this ruling is allowed to expire, controll of our tv watching options will be in the hands of these monopolistic giants, and our choices will be severely crippled.
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Former correspondent for Buffalo Courier Express, Olean Times Herald, First place Editorial, St. Bonaventure press day 1958. Former publisher 1960-1970. Author, editor, free lance contributor.

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