WOO HOO! For all the Knicks and Rangers fans....
This just about guarantees that there will be no NBA season.. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...101862164.html
FCC Backs Equal Access to HD Channels
By AMY SCHATZ
WASHINGTONAT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. will have access soon to high-definition versions of sports and entertainment events at Madison Square Garden under a decision released Thursday by the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC sided with Verizon and AT&T in finding that Cablevision Systems Corp. had improperly denied access to the HD versions of its channels, known as MSG and MSG+, which carry local professional teams such as the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers.
FCC rules prohibit cable companies from denying competitors access to affiliated channels. The rules are designed to encourage competition by preventing pay-TV companies from denying must-have content from competitors. A few years ago, the agency closed a loophole that allowed cable operators to withhold access to channels. A federal appeals court upheld that decision earlier this year, setting the stage for the FCC's decision Thursday.
Cablevision offered standard definition versions of both channels to AT&T and Verizon, which offer pay-TV services. But in separate rulings, the agency said that Cablevision's decision to withhold the HD channels had the effect of "significantly hindering" both companies "from providing a competing video service."
Cablevision said in a statement that it will be "pursuing relief in the courts" and that the FCC's rulings "do not appear to be based on the facts. The data clearly demonstrates that there has been no competitive harm to the nation's two largest phone companies as a result of not having two HD channels they already receive in [standard definition]."
At the time of the complaints, MSG was a unit of Cablevision but the cable operator spun it off in February 2010. The agency said MSG has 30 days to reach agreements with both AT&T and Verizon to carry the HD channels.
In a statement, Verizon said the decision "creates new opportunities for consumers and video competition" and the company was eager to reach an agreement to carry the HD channels. AT&T also released a statement praising the FCC's action.