Fighting Unreasonable Rate Hikes
Q. Why has Nexstar Media Group pulled their channels from my channel line-up?
A. Our agreement with Nexstar Media Group expired on November 30, 2021. ValuNet has been negotiating in good faith with Nexstar for the past several weeks with the goal of reaching a fair agreement on behalf of our customers. However, Nexstar is demanding an outrageous rate increase to carry their channels and has refused our counter proposal to pay a rate that is more than fair. Unfortunately, Nexstar has chosen to remove their channels from our line-up because we would not agree to their demands for higher fees, which would directly impact your bill.
Q. Is there another way to access programming from these networks?
A. Yes – you can access ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW and My Network programming for free with digital antenna. As with the old rabbit ears, the reception depends on where you live and whether there are buildings or other obstacles in the way between you and the station’s transmitters. You can often boost that reception with a fairly inexpensive external digital antenna available from any local electronics store. Today’s antennas are also quite small and convenient.
Much of the content you enjoy on this channel(s) can also be viewed on their website. These channels can be found by visiting:
Additionally, ValuNet internet customers can use our high-speed internet service to stream their programming content via services such as Fubo TV, Hulu and YouTube TV. We have video tutorials and streaming content comparisons on our website to help. As always we welcome you to call us with questions on streaming options and we are happy to go over the different options for streaming to help you determine which is best for you.
Q. I pay a lot for my TV service. Can’t you use that money to pay for this increase?
A. Rising programming costs – like the one that Nexstar is demanding – affect ALL TV providers (both cable and satellite), and result in increases to your monthly bill. Despite our best efforts to control these rapidly increasing programming costs, ValuNet, like other cable and satellite companies, must pass a portion of these costs on to our customers. That is why we strive to keep future price increases to a minimum by negotiating hard for you with all networks – including Nexstar.
Q. Why weren’t customers told about this sooner?
A. A notice was placed in your October and November bill statements regarding these negotiations. We apologize if you missed these notifications.
Q. If I am willing to pay more for these channels, can I keep them?
In order to be able to offer these channels to our customers, we must have an agreement with Nexstar.
GENERAL RETRANSMISSION CONSENT FAQs
Q. What is retransmission consent?
A. Since 1992, television stations have been authorized by the U.S. Congress to grant or deny permission for cable television systems to carry their signals. This right comes up for renewal approximately every three years. Many of our current agreements with broadcasters expire at the end of this year. Now, some broadcasters are asking for enormous fee increases, sometimes more than 100 percent. We are working hard to keep these increases fair so we don’t have to pass these unreasonable demands onto our customers.
Q. How does retransmission consent affect me?
A. We know price is an important issue to our customers. The price we charge our customers is directly affected by what we pay to carry your local broadcast stations to carry their channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX). That is why we are trying so hard to control increasing programming costs. If we agree to enormous fee demands from your local broadcasters, that means higher prices for you. However, if we don’t agree to a broadcaster’s demand, they require us to remove their station from our channel lineup.
Q. How much are broadcasters charging you to carry their channels?
A. The retransmission consent fees that local broadcast TV stations charge us to carry their channels have increased by more than 90 percent over the past three years – even though broadcast TV stations distribute their signals for free over the air, using spectrum granted to them for free by the federal government. That means that you can access these same channels for free with an antenna.
According to the American Cable Association, the fees broadcast stations are charging cable and satellite companies to carry their channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX) are now 30 times higher than they were 10 years ago. Broadcast retransmission fees cost are expected to cost consumers approximately $11.6 billion by 2022.
Q. Are you going to be dropping stations?
A. We hope not and we will make every effort to reach a fair deal. However, broadcasters are asking for outrageous fee increases, some in the triple digits. These types of demands are unreasonable and we don’t want to have to continue to pass on these higher costs to our customers. If we don’t agree to their fees, some broadcasters may force us to remove their programming.
Q. I pay ValuNet to make sure I get my favorite shows, but when there is a contract dispute, I’m told I may lose my channels. Who is responsible for taking them away?
A. ValuNet does not take channels away in a contract dispute. The station owner holds the ultimate right to decide if it will make its licensed programming available to cable subscribers in its market and will use that right in negotiations.
Broadcast station owners take channels away from customers and try to blame cable and satellite companies because we connect your TV to that channel. They employ this tactic to try and extract excessive prices that will drive up your monthly bill to unacceptable levels. We believe these actions are wrong and anti-consumer, but rest assured we will do everything we can to convince the station owner to return your channels if they ever take them down. Our goal is to always keep you connected while working toward a fair deal to keep your bill as low as possible.
Q. Why shouldn’t I just switch to some other cable, satellite or telco video provider who can promise me what I want?
A. Unfortunately, these disruptions have become an industry-wide problem. No cable or satellite provider is immune. Both cable and satellite companies are being forced to drop channels as a result of disputes over the exorbitant programming fees that programmers are demanding.
Q. Why don’t you just give the station or network owners what they want so I’m 100 percent protected against ever losing any of my favorite shows?
A. We’re more than willing to compensate broadcast station owners fairly, but some broadcasters try to deny you the channels you want, at least temporarily, in order to demand more money from satellite, cable or telco video providers that will drive up what you pay for TV service.
Q. If so many of these disputes involve local broadcasts stations, why don’t you just make a deal with ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC or CW rather than their local affiliates?
A. FCC rules demand that we negotiate separately with every one of the hundreds of different stations licensed to show those networks’ programs in their respective communities. Most of the time these agreements get done behind closed doors and privately, just as they should. But now some network owners would rather threaten to pull their station(s) out of your line-up so they can attempt to drive up their prices two or three times the amount they’ve ever received before. It’s simply not sustainable for anyone. We feel these practices are a complete abuse of the public trust and station’s license to free use of the airwaves.
ValuNet FIBER is committed to providing our customers with the best TV programming at the best price. Programming is our most expensive cost, which is why we vigorously negotiate with broadcasters for retransmission consent. However, if broadcasters do not get the fees they want, rather than continuing to negotiate with us, they can remove their station from our line-up.
We are currently in negotiation with the following programmers for the right to retransmit their stations:
|Broadcast Station||Expire Date||Market|
|Nexstar (NBC & FOX)||11/30/2021||Emporia|