Incumbents Blocking Google Fiber Access to Sports Channels?
Google Says It's a Problem, Time Warner Cable Says It Isn't
Trying to get incumbent cable operators to share their sports channels with TV competitors has always been a thorny issue (ask AT&T and Verizon
), and it appears to again be a problem for Google Fiber. In a recent FCC filing
, Google complains that they're having a hard time getting access to Time Warner Cable's regional sports network
, Metro Sports. Time Warner Cable issued a statement
saying they're withholding a portion of Metro Sports content because they're the ones who invested in it locally:
“TWC has absolutely offered, and continues to offer, what the FCC describes as Metro Sports’ ‘must-have’ live regional sports programming -- men's and women's Division I basketball -- at fair and reasonable prices. As for the remaining programming on Metro Sports, we have long invested in local programming, and [Google is] welcome to do the same."
Google recently struck a deal with Disney for access to all Disney, ABC and ESPN channels, but holes in their channel lineup
still remain -- most notably HBO. As for the competitive impact of Google Fiber Time Warner Cable says they aren't worried about it
and doubt the service expands beyond Kansas City. The cable operator's primary tactic in the region so far appears to be to lock down as many locals as possible into long-term contracts and hope for the best.