Cable Association Alerts FCC After Viacom Blocks Access to Its Own Websites

Cable Group Alerts FCC After Viacom

The American Cable Assn., which represents small- and medium-sized cable and Internet providers, says that Viacom is retaliating against some of its members who refuse to pay “exorbitant fee increases” for low-rated channels by blocking access to Viacom websites.

The president of the association, Matthew Polka, says that such blocking should be addressed by the FCC as it draws up a new set of net neutrality rules. Those rules have been aimed at Internet providers, but Polka says that recent disputes show that such open Internet provisions are also needed to cover content companies’ own websites.

Polka had a teleconference on Monday with Gigi Sohn, special counsel for external affairs for FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, to talk about the issue.

The ACA said that broadband subscribers of two of its members, Cable ONE and Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico, were being denied access to Viacom websites in “retaliatory efforts” because the two companies refused to pay hefty fee increases for Viacom cable channels. Polka pointed to other examples, like CBS’ blocking of its websites during its dispute with Time Warner Cable last year.

“Viacom’s move is momentous because of the policy and industry debate occurring right now regarding the fundamental tenets of Internet openness, which include allowing consumers to reach the lawful content of their choice,” Polka said in a statement. “In selectively blocking these users’ access, Viacom is violating Internet openness in a way that should be seen as a call to action to policymakers on Capitol Hill and at the Federal Communications Commission.”

In a statement, Viacom said that “Cable ONE and Liberty Cablevision have chosen to no longer carry Viacom programming and, as a result, it is no longer available to their customers in any form.”

In other impasses, content companies have argued that the open Internet shouldn’t mean that their websites are universally available even to non-subscribers, just as Netflix and HuluPlus are available only to those who pay a monthly subscription.


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  1. Quigley Spargus says:

    Even though it is available to anyone in the world with access to the internet? It also affects those that never subscribed to a cable video package that previously enjoyed unencumbered access to all Viacom online content and web experiences. Lets also point out that those that subscribe to Dish and DirectTV for video service are also impacted by denied access. And lastly, due to the manner in which Viacom executes the denial by blocking IP ranges, video customers of other cable providers also become ‘collateral’ damage by this terrorist act of Viacom. Sinking ratings, a $167 Million 2013 compensation package for Viacom’s CEO, degenerative programming, and now blatant retaliation against consumers all adds up to Viacom = Scourge of the Cable and Media world. Shame on you Brooklyn Phil!

  2. Todd P says:

    As soon as a Congressman or Senator says the words “a la carte”, Viacom and the cable industry tucks their tails between their legs and runs away…..

  3. SHAFTRA says:

    Reblogged this on shaftra.

  4. Willem says:

    The blocking doesn’t stop at the small companies that won’t pay a price hike. All worldwide streams are blocked. I think this is a major omission in your article. Major shows like the Colbert Report and Dailyshow with Jon Stewart are no longer available internationally.

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