27 Fall 2017 | www.htcinc.net 26 www.htcinc.net | Fall 2017 What’s the deal with rising cable costs? Every day, HTC works hard to provide top-tier services right here in Horry County. And, we make every effort to keep costs as low as possible for our customers. We want what you want: outstanding services at an affordable price. In that way, we are your voice in negotiating deals with large corporate broadcasters who demand increasing retransmission fees. Naturally, you may have some questions as to why. Thank you, Heroes A TRIBUTE TO OUR CURRENT HTC EMPLOYEE VETERANS Tommy Altman – Army National Guard, 3 years, 6 months; Navy, 4 years Warren Anderson – South Carolina Army Reserve National Guard, 20 years Russell Baxley – Army, 3 years; Germany Army Reserve National Guard, 5 years Mark Blanchfield – Air Force, 9 years Melissa Boyd – Air Force, 2 years Devon Brown – Army, 10 years, 1 month Mike Cannady – Air Force, 5 years, 6 months Jerry Chestnut – Navy, 4 years Gerald Dozier – Army, 10 years David Everett – Marines, 5 years Todd Garvin – Army, 4 years Edward Gause – South Carolina Army Reserve National Guard, 10 years Phillip Gregory – Army National Guard, 8 years Lee Griffin – Army, 4 years Merlin Hemingway – Army, 1 year Victor Hilburn – Army, 3 years Sam Hucks – Air Force, 5 years, 6 months Joe King – Army, 3 years; Army National Guard, 19 years, still active David Lammers – Army, 7 years Humphrey Lewis – Army, 3 years Jerry Lee Lewis – Army, 4 years; Army National Guard, 17 years Victor Long – Air National Guard, 29 years, 6 months David Martin – Army, 5 years Pearly McCants – Navy, 8 years Marion Moore – Army National Guard, 3 years; Navy, 4 years Greg Moses – Army, 4 years Sharon Muir – Army, 2 years Camilo Parsell – Army National Guard, 4 years Phil Pilot – Army, 6 years; Army National Guard, 12 years Rikki Reaves – Army, 5 years Timmy Reaves – Navy, 4 years Tony Robbins – Air Force, 8 years Dominic Schnyder – Marines, 4 years; Marine Corps Reserve, 4 years Jesse Skipper – Army National Guard, 6 years David Smalara – Air Force, 2 years Shannon Taylor – Army, 8 years Bradley Thompkins – Army National Guard, 2 years, still active Don Urban – Air Force, 22 years Anthony Watts – Army, 2 years Rae Jean West – Army, 6 years “Wait, what are cable retransmission fees?” These are broadcast fees required by a decades-old federal law that allows major media corporations like ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC to charge providers like HTC fees for “retransmitting” their signals. These fees are for the same signal that the local broadcaster offers over the air for free. “Why are retransmission fees going up?” Unfortunately, HTC can’t control how much we are forced to pay to carry local TV stations. In the past, we had personal relationships with local broadcasters who lived in the community and did business directly with us. But as the broadcast industry has gone more corporate, HTC more often is forced to negotiate with regional and national entities whose owners and employees live outside of our community. These large corporations often manipulate the market through mergers and acquisitions, using their sheer size to demand higher fees. Even though their audiences are rapidly shrinking, corporate broadcasters are demanding higher fees in order to make up for the losses. Our goal remains to keep costs down for our customers, but corporate media groups think first of maximizing their incomes. We negotiate hard with corporate broadcasters to keep fees low and programs on the air. While we don’t dictate fee increases, we must pay corporate broadcasters to carry their stations in your local TV lineups. “So why not just refuse?” For one, we want you to have access to all the programs you want. Secondly, corporate broadcasters have pulled their signals before, causing a blackout until the cable operator (in this case, HTC) agrees to their terms. When this happens, you, the customer, lose. Unfortunately, this is happening more and more. Already in 2017, there have been 145 blackouts that have affected nearly 100 U.S. television markets. “If I switch to satellite or a different provider, can I avoid blackouts?” Put simply: No. All cable providers and satellite TV providers must negotiate retransmission consent fees with corporate broadcasters. Any of these negotiations could lead to TV stations going off the air. Therefore, switching providers will not protect you from the threat of a blackout. “Where can I learn more?” As your local Cooperative, we here at HTC — your neighbors and fellow community members — will continue to fight these outdated retransmission rules every day on your behalf. You can learn more by visiting www.keeptheconnections.com.