Hearing Highlights How Mega-Merger Would Delay The Repack Process
The Coalition to Save Local Media, a diverse group of media organizations, distributors, independent networks, public interest groups, and other allies, released the following statement on today’s House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing that updated Congress on the FCC spectrum repack:
“Today’s hearing highlights the urgency of denying the Sinclair Broadcasting-Tribune Media merger. If the Sinclair-Tribune merger goes through, the combined company would effectively control the market for certain broadcast equipment and impede deployment of mobile broadband, limiting competition and choice for the distribution of content and broadband services nationwide.
“Sinclair has long sought to impede and delay the repack process, the redistribution of broadcast TV spectrum won by wireless companies in the recent FCC incentive auction and movement and replacement of transmitters, line, and antennas to put stations in a new band. A combined Sinclair-Tribune would have more leverage to sabotage the repack process by controlling over 200 stations that need to be transitioned, making it nearly inevitable for Sinclair to derail the repack schedule.
“At a minimum, the Sinclair-Tribune merger would delay and add uncertainty into the post-incentive auction transition process, hurting consumers, hindering competition, and delaying access to new technology in America’s rural areas.”
At the hearing, the subcommittee heard testimony from Rebecca Murphy Thompson, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Competitive Carriers Association (CCA). CCA is a member of the Coalition to Save Local Media, which came together to stop the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger. The Coalition is nonpartisan and includes members on both sides of the aisle. Notably, the Coalition includes members that have previously been on opposite sides of regulatory fights.