• The following statement was issued today on behalf of the Chairman of the Telecommunications Commission, Mr Michael Scott regarding on the retroactive fee for local programming on cable by One Communications…

In October 2020, One Communications advised the Telecommunications Commission that they had reached an impasse in negotiations under section 12 of the Cable Television Services Regulations 1987 during the ‘election period’ on retransmission consent.  The salient matter was that the Bermuda Broadcasting Company was requesting a rate increase for the retransmission of their content, which is primarily the network affiliates’ costs for CBS and ABC content, and the production of local content.  It is worth noting that BBC was successful in negotiating a rate for retransmission with the other local carriers. 

The Telecommunications Commission met on several occasions, and requested submissions from each of the two carriers, and arrived at a decision in the first week of January, in which the Commission granted an increase based on the cost of the network affiliate content, which had increased quite dramatically since the last election period, which was in 2014.  In order to preserve local jobs, and in an effort to meet the needs of both parties while looking after the interests of the public, the decision was reached to allow the increase, retroactive to the end of the last agreement between the carriers, which was October 31st, 2020. 

The rate decision determined by the TC was based on the range of rates the parties submitted in their attempt to negotiate a commercial agreement.  The Commission’s decision was based in part on the following:

  • To preserve the legal transmission of network affiliate content on local cable television networks;
  • To ensure the production and transmission of news and local events by the BBC;
  • To help safeguard the jobs of approximately 40 Bermudian employees by the BBC. 

in respect of cost to One Communications, the Commission’s decision was based in part on the need for One to pay a fair market rate for the BBC’s content.

The decision to increase fees was arrived at through careful and thoughtful deliberation by the Telecommunications Commission; how and if these allowed rates are passed on to the customer is a business decision of One Communications.