FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q.What are retransmission consent negotiations?
A.A decades-old federal law empowers broadcasters, including corporations that own TV stations such as ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, to charge fees to local cable providers (such as MTA) for the rights to carry or “retransmit” their signals.

Q.Why are you negotiating fees with broadcasters to carry stations like ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC? Aren’t shows on these stations free?
A.Yes and No. While broadcasters offer their signals for free over the air, cable operators, including us, can’t offer these signals to our cable customers without their permission. We need to pay fees to the broadcasters to get that permission. Most people don’t realize they are paying fees for what most consider “free TV” such as national network programs like The Big Bang Theory and NFL games.

Q.If you are trying to control costs, why does my bill seem to go up every year?
A.We strive to keep prices as low as possible. But we don’t control how much we are all forced to pay to carry local TV stations. We try to absorb as many of the costs as possible, but a portion of them is included in your bill because of the significant rise in the cost of TV station fees and other factors over the years. In fact, these TV station fees have grown thirty times over the last 10 years.

Q.Can I watch any local TV station I want with an antenna?
A.If you have a TV antenna and the signal is strong enough, you can probably access your local stations like ABC, CBC, FOX and NBC.

Q.Why don’t you want to pay for the local news? I find it very valuable.
A.We are willing to pay for the local news and recognize that it’s valuable to our customers. We also know that our customers want to get this news and the other programming that we offer at affordable prices. To satisfy these two goals, from time to time, we need to resist unreasonable price increases from corporate broadcasters even for programming we know our customers want to continue receiving.

Q.Why are you dropping some stations?
A.We are not dropping any stations. They sometimes drop us. The corporate broadcasters are refusing to grant us permission to carry the station unless we pay exorbitantly more in broadcast fees on a per customer basis. We are negotiating for a better deal. If they refuse to agree upon a rate increase that we feel we can accept, then there is the possibility that we may cease carrying that particular channel.

Q.Why don’t you just pay the broadcasters what they want?
A.Every day, we work on behalf of our customers to ensure you have access to the TV stations you want, when and how you want them. Because you have many provider choices for pay TV, we strive to offer you the best service at the lowest possible cost. However, when corporate broadcasters demand higher fees, we are forced to pass along some of those costs to our customers. Our yearly costs increase each year for content fees and there comes a point where we can no longer absorb these drastic price increases.

Q.Are there any other ways for me to watch specific TV channels?
A.Many channels are available via various online streaming apps. The best way to stream local broadcast and sports channels is with MTA Stream. We also partner with PlayStation™Vue, a live streaming TV service with sports, news, and your favorite must-watch shows available on multiple devices.