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December 6, 2018

Retransmission Fee Notice

This year, once again, Premier is facing rising retransmission fees. Retransmission fees only affect our Cable TV customers. If you do not have Cable TV, these fees and changes will not affect you.

Premier Communications has contracts with local television stations that enable us to carry ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox stations on our cable network. The price agreements are renegotiated every 3 years, and detail how much these broadcasters charge us to carry their channel, these charges are called “retransmission fees.” These rates change on an annual basis, which will once again happen on January 1, 2019. Retransmission fees come from a decades-old federal law that allows local broadcast stations charge cable and satellite companies, such as Premier, to carry their programming on our channel lineup.

Check out the FAQ’s below to learn more.

What are retransmission fees?

The fees that local broadcast stations charge cable and satellite customers to show their programming. If you watch local broadcast channels “over the air” with an antenna, the programming is free. But the broadcasters charge cable and satellite providers, such as Premier, and their customers, such as you, to “retransmit” those same channels. You are paying for supposedly “free” TV.

Why are we talking about retransmission fees so much right now?

Local broadcast stations such as ABC, CBS, etc. are using the popularity of their channels as leverage to push the programming fees they charge local service providers (such as Premier and other cable and satellite companies) high and higher.

How much are retransmission fees going up?

It appears that most bills will increase between $2.00 - $3.00 but this varies depending on which local channels are on your channel lineup.

How does this affect my monthly bill?

Because these fees are not included in bundle or service prices, your bill will increase after Jan. 1, 2019. Retransmission fees are treated similar to state taxes that you pay for gas. Even if you are in a two-year contract, your bill will go up. Only the price of the bundle is fixed for two years. Premier has very little control over these types of taxes and fees passed through to our customers.

What is the alternative to paying retransmission fees?

Premier would need to completely drop the local Sioux Falls and Sioux City channels local channels. Based on feedback we receive, local channels are very important to the majority of our customers so dropping local channels is really not an option at this time. Switching providers will not help; all cable and satellite companies are forced to pay retransmission fees, they may include these fees in their service prices or charge on top as Premier does, but either way, you are paying these fees.

What is Premier doing about retransmission fees?

We are doing our best to negotiate on our customers’ behalf. We are a part of several organizations of local and national cable providers, all of whom are trying to reverse the laws that require retransmission fees.

Are you upset about this? We are too! Because it’s not fair.

So what can you do? First of all, stand with us! More customers = more leverage with the broadcasters! You can also join the fight by writing a letter to your local congressional representatives.

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