Fledgling “wireless cable” and other TV services like direct broadcast satellite companies gained access to a wider range of programs under a settlement announced Wednesday by state prosecutors.
The investigation centers on charges that cable giants sought to squeeze out competition from smaller companies relying on newer technology.
The small companies say major cable companies do this by blocking access to some of the most popular channels.
The settlement involved 40 state attorneys general and was announced by New York Attorney General Robert Abrams. The cable companies agreed to pay $ 4.75 million in settlement costs, of which $ 1 million will go to New York.
Settlement of the investigation affected Tele-Communications Inc., the nation’s largest cable operator; Time Warner Cable, the second-largest; Cox Enterprises; Comcast Corp.; Viacom Intl.; Continental Cablevision; and Newhouse Broadcasting.
Also affected is programming controlled by the companies are Cable News Network, Turner Network Television, Showtime, HBO, the Discovery Channel, MTV and VH-1.
Under the settlement, the cable companies would be required to provide equal access to such entertainment to their newer-technology competitors.
Rivalry between the major cable companies and their newer competitors reflects the cable television regulatory bill that Congress enacted last year. It requires cable companies to provide equal access to popular programming to their competitors. But parties to the case said the new settlement would impose even tighter restrictions to prevent the big companies from squeezing out their smaller rivals.