Washington -- Small cable operators announced their
opposition last Thursday to EchoStar Communications Corp.'s acquisition of a prime
satellite license from News Corp.
They argued that the deal would harm localism by
undermining the financial health of small TV stations and small cable operators.
In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission, the
Small Cable Business Association said EchoStar would use the additional spectrum to
deliver the national networks in some markets, while ignoring the local, independent
In other markets -- particularly small ones -- the SCBA
alleged that EchoStar would import network signals from the closest big city in an effort
to create a regional-network-TV service.
"This would threaten the financial viability of all
television-broadcast stations located outside of the top 100 markets," the SBCA said
in a 34-page opposition. "The harm to local broadcasters translates directly into
harm for small cable."