Hardy Urges OneNet Customers To Contact Congress About Video Regulations

Hardy Telecommunications’ goal when it launched video programming with Hardy OneNet was to provide a channel lineup featuring relevant news, sports and entertainment to our customers at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, it has become more and more apparent that the TV business does not operate on a level playing field; instead, it is stacked against rural multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) like Hardy in favor of broadcasting networks. Archaic and outdated laws and regulations in the video marketplace need to be reformed. A simple example is that our service area, Hardy County, is determined to be in the Washington, D.C., designated market area. As a result of the designated market area rules, Hardy OneNet can be forced to carry and pay for out-of-state channels that are considered to be “in market,” even if those channels are of no interest to local viewers and don’t feature any local content. At the same time, Hardy OneNet can be prevented from carrying West Virginia stations because they’re considered “out of market.”

We urge customers unhappy with these outdated laws to contact their West Virginia congressional delegation. A sample letter that you can copy, fill in the appropriate part, sign and mail to West Virginia’s congressional delegation can be found by clicking HERE.

Here is the text of the letter:

“Dear (Insert Name of Congressional Representative or Senator):

As a video customer of Hardy Telecommunications’ OneNet service in Hardy County, W.Va., I am upset at the outdated laws and regulations that create an unfair playing field in favor of broadcasters over rural video programming distributors like Hardy. We do not understand how any negotiations can be considered “good faith” or a marketplace considered fair when a Hardy County video provider is effectively barred from carrying a West Virginia station because it is “out of market” for the area. How can Hardy County residents be told that they are in the Washington, D.C., designated market area for local programming, and no locally accessible West Virginia stations are included in that market? If video programming distributors have no choice when negotiating for broadcast signals and are forced by law toward a single seller, how can that be considered a fair market or even any “market” at all?

We have learned how Hardy Telecommunications is hampered by outdated laws that are badly in need of retransmission consent reform. There are several areas that we feel are unfair burdens to Hardy Telecommunications and video consumers:

  • Mandatory non-disclosure requirements prevent Hardy from revealing and customers from seeing market value pricing. Consumers should be allowed to see per-channel pricing charged by broadcasters to their local video distributor.
  • Broadcasters should not have the right to restrict video programming distributors from accessing local content due to designated market area restraints. Again, how can it be fair that an area like Hardy County in West Virginia is considered “out of market” for West Virginia stations? In the same vein, video distributors should not be forced to carry and pay heavily for out-of-state stations that have no interest or value to consumers in their service territory because those channels somehow are considered “in market,” even though they offer no local coverage whatsoever.
  • Broadcasters should not be able to force video distributors to carry numerous other channels in order to get the few channels that consumers really want. Consumers should be able to choose what channels they want and pay accordingly, and video distributors should not be forced into stacking countless channels into tiers and charging all customers in those tiers for unwanted channels. Consumers and video programming distributors should have the right to choose and pay for channels a la carte based on customer choice.

We respectfully request that you address these fundamentally flawed retransmission consent and video marketplace laws and regulations that punish rural West Virginia residents and rural video programming providers like Hardy Telecommunications. It’s a simple matter of fairness for rural West Virginia citizens. Thank you for your time and attention.


(Your name)”

Addresses for the West Virginia Congressional Delegation are below:

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, 172 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Joe Manchin, 306 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510

West Virginia 1st District: Rep. David McKinley, 2239 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515

West Virginia 2nd District (Hardy County’s district): Rep. Alex Mooney, 2228 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515

West Virginia 3rd District: Rep. Carol Miller, 465 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515


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