The FCC Should Deny the Proposed Sinclair, Tribune Transaction to Protect Consumers and the 600 MHz Repacking Process
Washington, DC – August 29, 2017 – Today in a Reply to the Consolidated Opposition to Petitions to Deny the proposed transaction between Tribune Media Company (“Tribune”) and Sinclair Broadcasting Group (“Sinclair”), Competitive Carriers Association (“CCA”) encouraged the Commission to deny the transaction to protect the public interest and ensure a timely repack process of the recently auctioned 600 MHz licenses. If approved, the Tribune, Sinclair merger would result in significant market domination by one company, giving Sinclair unmatched control over the broadcast market to the detriment of competition, the economy, and consumers.
“Competitive carriers spent significant capital purchasing additional spectrum in the 600 MHz incentive auction, and continue to use significant resources to work with stakeholders to ensure a safe, timely, and an efficient post-auction repack. For this reason, it is critical that these carriers have access to their 600 MHz licenses as soon as possible to provide their customers with the services they want and demand,” said CCA President & CEO Steven K. Berry. “It is no secret that Sinclair’s future depends on developing a nationwide mobile broadband and video distribution footprint and that it will take almost any measure to achieve this objective, even at the expense of consumers. Most notably, Sinclair has attempted to manipulate the auction repack to incent others to finance and support ATSC 3.0, and if given the opportunity, may strong-arm mobile broadband operators into paying the costs of incorporating ATSC 3.0 technology into mass market consumer handsets. If the transaction is approved as contemplated, competitive carriers will be subject to these unwarranted costs and will be negatively impacted by any disruption to the repack process.”
“The FCC should look at the proposed Tribune, Sinclair transaction for what it really is – the opportunity for Sinclair to secure its dominant position in the market and shut out competitors to the detriment of consumers and the industry as a whole. There is broad opposition – from consumer groups, independent programmers, local broadcasters and hundreds of citizens – to the transaction, and this widespread concern should not be ignored. I strongly encourage the FCC to deny the proposed acquisition to prevent extensive public-interest, economic and competitive harm.”
CCA is the nation’s leading association for competitive wireless providers and stakeholders across the United States. The licensed service area of CCA’s nearly 100 carrier members covers 95 percent of the nation. Visit www.ccamobile.org.
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