Customer Retransmission Letter
November 21, 2011
Dear Valued Customer,
We wanted to make you aware of a potential situation that may affect your access to certain local broadcast channels. The situation involves retransmission consent fees, which refers to the money that cable companies, including Great Plains Communications, pay to local broadcast affiliates for the right to transmit their signal. Local affiliates are the stations that broadcast network programming from ABC, CBS, NBC, etc. The spectrum used to send the signal is provided to the affiliate at no cost by the Federal Communications Commission.
Our current retransmission rate agreements with many affiliates are set to expire and certain affiliates are asking for unprecedented increases in the fees to carry their programming. Many local affiliates are owned by large conglomerates who determine retransmission consent fees taking the decision making process out of the hands of the local affiliate.
Some affiliates are asking for increases of nearly 300 percent. While we expect negotiations to produce a more positive outcome than triple-digit increases, if these affiliates hold firm on such staggering increases it could result in the loss of these channels from our lineup. Affiliates receive free government-issued spectrum to transmit their signal, even as they ask for higher retransmission consent rates. Great Plains Communications has invested heavily in providing the necessary infrastructure to bring cable services to your area. This includes laying and maintaining cable lines as well as creating partnerships with other companies to deliver the strongest signal possible.
Substantial increases in retransmission and other programming fees have already caused other companies to exercise remedies such as shutting down cable systems or significantly raising rates. Great Plains Communications is working to find a solution that will keep costs down for both the company and its customers.
We will continue to keep customers up-to-date about this situation. If you would like to get the latest about this situation, please visit, www.gpcom.com/retransmission.
Director, Great Plains Communications Cable Television