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FCC Won't Let Cable Operators Withhold Local Sports

Federal regulators have closed a wrinkle that has allowed cable TV operators to withhold sporting events and other popular programming that they own from satellite companies and other rivals.

Photo source: istock

The Federal Communications Commission voted 4-to-1 on Wednesday to eliminate the so-called "terrestrial loophole" in a 1992 federal cable law.

That loophole has enabled companies such as Comcast, Cox Communications and Cablevision Systems to circumvent access requirements in the law by distributing programming over land-based rather than satellite connections.

Cable companies have been able to deny programming to competitors such as DirecTV, Echostar's Dish Network, AT&T's U-Verse video service and Verizon Communications' FiOS video service.