December 11th, 2014
Every three years, cable television providers throughout the country are required by law to negotiate with local broadcasters (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC) for the rights to retransmit broadcast television signals to their cable customers. For the past several months, Waitsfield Cable has been in negotiations with these broadcasters for retransmission consent fees. Even though these over the air signals are broadcast free to the general public, cable television providers must pay what we view as excessive per subscriber monthly fees for the right to carry these networks.
A combination of factors has led to this unfortunate situation. Most notably, outdated and overly prescriptive federal retransmission consent and network non-duplication laws and regulations have granted the broadcasters both a monopoly in their markets and the right to demand payment for their signals. The two rules combined have given broadcasters extraordinary market power in their retransmission consent negotiations with cable operators, allowing them to make what can be viewed as “take-it-or-leave-it” deals.
In this process, it is not unusual for the broadcasters to discriminate against small cable operators. Independent providers, like Waitsfield Cable, are often charged higher per-subscriber fees than their local competitors, which include large operators and satellite TV providers with national reach. The broadcasters take advantage of our need to carry these local stations to our subscribers and their effective monopoly in the television market by demanding as much as they can.
In addition to the “take-it-or-leave–it” philosophy, the broadcasters do not allow the operators to disclose the retransmission fees that are being forced upon small companies such as Waitsfield Cable. In Vermont, small cable operators lobbied for the passage of Act 190 which provides that broadcasters disclose fees to the Attorney General’s Office but the fees do not get reported to the Attorney General until after January 1, 2015. At this point, unless we want to lose the programming from the broadcasters, the contracts will be signed and the excessive rate increases will be locked in.
We know you want a good value. When networks demand huge fee increases, we work to get the best offerings at the best price possible so we can keep your bill as low as possible. Waitsfield Cable strives to do our best to negotiate fair fees so we can bring you the most affordable television service possible. However, we are facing big challenges.
- Consolidation among the major networks means they have even more negotiating power.
- These media conglomerates are demanding double or triple fee increases, and in some cases even more. The vast majority of your monthly cable bill pays for this programming.
- We will be faced with two options — pay the exorbitant fees or lose the network(s) on our channel lineup through a “blackout.”
As a result, Waitsfield Cable will be forced to raise the rates of our TV packages to cover the expected fee increases from the networks. We will update you as this process continues and work diligently on your behalf to keep costs down. For more information on cable television programming challenges, visit http://tvonmyside.com. We urge you to reach out to your local Congressional delegation to voice your concern on this matter.
Senator Patrick Leahy
87 State Street, Room 338
Montpelier, VT 05602
Senator Bernard Sanders
1 Church Street, Suite 300
Burlington, VT 05401
Representative Peter Welch
128 Lakeside Avenue, Suite 235
Burlington, VT 05401
December 5th, 2014
It’s college football bowl season and we invite you to have some fun with this free contest. Simply pick the winners of the college bowl games and then see how your picks measure up against other WCVT football fans. Be sure to pre-register and make your picks by December 19. All participants have the chance to win some great prizes!
- Easy to play
- No cost to participate
- Great local prizes
- Have fun playing against others in your local community
Follow this link to sign up for the contest and make your picks: http://wcvt.pickitchallenge.com/Bowls/wcvtbc1415
– 1st place – $250 to Small Dog Electronics, Waitsfield
– 2nd place – $75 to Common Man Restaurant, Warren
– 3rd place – $50 Parkside Restaurant, Richmond
– 4th place – $30 Dakin Farm
– 5th place – $25 Harrington’s of Vermont
December 2nd, 2014
The latest issues of our Business Connections Magazine is hot off the press and out for mail delivery. This issue spotlights The Inn at the Round Barn Farm in Waitsfield, where historical charm meets modern technology for a unique guest experience.
Read the most recent issue of our Business Connections Magazine and let us know what you think. As always, feedback welcomed!
December 1st, 2014
Click here to view the December issue of the GMA eNewsletter.
November 24th, 2014
It’s been ten years since we’ve produced a long form video so this year we partnered with Mt. Mansfield Media to tell the “WCVT story.” Our goal was simple: Capture what makes us unique and get at the essence of what makes us different from the large conglomerates. Thank you for being a part of our Vermont story.
It’s a marvel that meandering through these rural villages and farms is a fiber optic digital communications network as powerful as any in the world. And in these small Vermont towns people seeking quality of life are connecting to the network to offer exceptional Vermont products and services both nationally and worldwide.
The story of how local businesses have found success on the back roads of Vermont goes back more than one hundred years. Its the the story of the birth of the telephone and one tenacious Vermont family.
October 27th, 2014
Thanks to everyone that came to our annual children’s Halloween Party in Bristol! We had a great turnout with entertainment by Face Mania. A special thanks to the Bristol Recreation Department for the use of Holley Hall and all the WCVT employees that volunteered for the event.
Happy Halloween everyone!
October 15th, 2014
The new playground on the town green in Bristol has been in the works for several years. The project was spearheaded by the Bristol Downtown Community Partnership and the Bristol Recreation Department. WCVT was proud to donate people power and monetary assistance to the worthy project. For more information on this community project, visit http://bristolrec.org/bristol-green-playground-project.
October 13th, 2014
Effective October 13, 2014, The Hub Network (channel 63) is being rebranded as Discovery Family Channel, broadening its programming focus to serve families in prime time.
During the daytime, Discovery Family Channel will feature new Hasbro Studios series as well as library programming. In prime time, the channel will draw from Discovery’s content that appeals to the whole family, including natural history, adventure, wildlife and science fare.
To view our current lineup, click here.
October 7th, 2014
A group of WCVT employees spent the day at Chapin Orchard in Essex in early October and picked apples to fight hunger in Vermont. During this past harvest season, companies throughout Vermont picked or bought apples at local orchards to donate to the VT Foodbank. The WCVT crew picked over 500 pounds of apples for the cause. The program is a win-win for everyone. Fresh, local fruit is distributed to needy families throughout Vermont, local orchards benefit with increased sales and exposure, and companies experience a day of teamwork and fun.
Great job VT Foodbank, Chapin Orchard, and Team WCVT!
October 6th, 2014
WCVT employees provided more than 100 hours of community service time to build a playground in Bristol this month. The playground project has been a year in the works with the Bristol Downtown Community Partnership and the Bristol Recreation Department spearheading the effort. WCVT was proud to donate people power and monetary assistance to the worthy project. Enjoy your new playground kids and great job, Team WCVT!