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Online Cable System Files Complaint Agaist Turner Networks with FCC

January 18, 2007

VDC Corporation has filed an official Program Access complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against Turner Networks for their refusal in providing certain Turner and Time Warner programming including, but not limited to TNT, TBS, CNN and CNN Headline News.

Jeff Rothschild, who is vp-program acquisition and consumer relations for Northbrook, Ill.-based VDC, wrote me yesterday to provide me an overview of what's going on here.

"As you may know, , or Virtual Digital Cable, is an online based cable system.," Rorthschild wrote. "However, we have been unable to effectively compete and gain equal access to programming for multiple reasons.

"Again, I wanted to inform you of and our filing with the FCC as this has much wider implications of access to media and information, net neutrality and future governance by the FCC/ Congress into matters of program access and media/ Internet distribution.

There's much more on the company's blog. Let's read what VDC said last week about why they are filing this Complaint.


From a VDC press release, whichran on their blog on January 8:

VDC says they have repeatedly sought to open carriage negotiations for Turner Networks’ programming however, at this time they have reached an impasse.

Under legal guidelines VDC’s stature as a Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (MVPD) permits the company to distribute Turner Networks’ programming including CNN, CNN Headline News, TBS, and TNT among others. 

VDC claims that the refusal in obtaining programming is due to an unfair advantage hindering VDC the right to compete against other cable companies, including Time Warner itself. After numerous attempts of acquiring carriage of Turner Networks on’s Virtual Digital cable service, VDC Corporation will now be involving the FCC.

“We have evidence which suggests many potential subscribers would subscribe to our service over our competitors if we provided them with certain channels that Turner and Time Warner own,” stated Scott Wolf, VDC’s Co-founder. “It is both unfortunate, and unlawful that Turner Networks has not granted us distribution rights for their programming in accordance with standing laws that permit us to operate.”

Continued refusal to move forward with VDC is what ultimately lead VDC to involve the FCC. 

“We receive channel requests everyday from our subscribers, and potential subscribers, who are looking to watch specific channels not currently available on’s service,” says President and CEO Melissa Skolnick.

“We understand where those requests are coming from and want nothing more than to have all channels readily available for our members. It is frustrating for us to explain why we don’t have programming like CNN but are working on obtaining them as quickly as possible.”

When asked why many of those channels are not yet available on VDC, Skolnick said, “…that’s what we’re attempting to rectify.”

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