The issue of net neutrality and press freedom are cropping up again and again before the media regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an agency that deals with complex regulations related to media consumers. But among all the big and complicated issues, the most debatable is the NFL blackout policy.
NFL Blackout policy
Ajit Pai, one of the five FCC Commissioner, believes that the NFL television blackout rules must be revoked and this is the correct time when we should hit the bull’s eye.
Underlining the sentiments of the sports fans, Pai says, “The blackout rules, preventing unsold games from being broadcast in the home team’s market, need to be repealed as they leave the fans at the losing end.”
Pai was in Buffalo on Tuesday along with Congressman Brian Higgins, who has urged the commission to revisit its media policies.
The FCC has been taking public feedback over blackout regulations so as to look into its policies in broader perspective.
However, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has a different say on the whole episode.
According to Goodell,t here is no need of any change in the 1975 blackout policy as repeal could badly affect future TV contracts as well as lead to lesser broadcast of free games.
The other issue Pai discussed was the net neutrality issue.
According to him, the new set of rules proposed by Chairman Tom Wheeler earlier this year will not serve the purpose. Rather he believes more focus should be laid on the issue of making broadband more available.
“I have visited across the country and there are parts that don’t have any broadband options. I have also been to parts that have a broadband option but it hardly serves their interests,” Pai said while adding, “To me, the FCC should be focused more on that as opposed to the net neutrality debate, which by-and-large addresses harms that haven’t yet happened, haven’t materialized.”
The FCC is presently working on to write new so-called net neutrality rules. The new set of policies is aimed at regulating the process by which internet service providers (ISPs) manage traffic on their networks.
Under the proposed rules, ISPs are prohibited from blocking any content and also suggest allowing few ‘commercially reasonable’ deals where content providers could pay ISPs in order encourage the delivery of their traffic.
Presently, the FCC is collecting public opinion on the proposed net neutrality rules until September 10. Over a million comments that have poured in, many oppose the rules tentatively proposed by the commission.
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