Cord cutters won’t be able to stream the next Republican debate

October 27, 2015, 3:50 PM UTC

Only cable and satellite subscribers will be able to watch the third Republican debate, Tech Insider reports.

The debate, which will be hosted by CNBC, is scheduled to take place on Wednesday night at the University of Colorado at Boulder. A CNBC representative confirmed to Tech Insider there will be no widely available live stream for the presidential debate, although live streams will be available online and on mobile apps for those who do subscribe to the network.

CNN offered a free live stream to all viewers, no password required, for the last two debates it hosted, likely helping the network reach record-breaking numbers. The second GOP debate was the most-watched CNN event in the network’s history and, though the first Democratic debate couldn’t beat NCIS’s ratings, it pulled in more viewers than any previous Democratic debate.

Fox News, on the other hand, did not offer a free live stream. Similar to the upcoming CNBC debate, viewers had to log in with a password in order to access the event online. Despite the exclusivity, 24 million people tuned in, an overwhelming record for any primary debate.

As for why CNBC won’t be offering a free live stream, it’s very simple: CNBC is owned by NBCUniversal, and NBCUniversal is owned by Comcast. Comcast is the nation’s largest cable provider and has no interest in handing out free services to non-subscribers. So, if you don’t have cable or subscribe to CNBC Pro, the network’s subscription product that includes live streaming, you’re out of luck Wednesday night — or in luck, depending how you look at it.

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