Public Knowledge Praises Kerry For Draft Bill To Protect Cable Consumers

The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:

“Senate Communications Subcommittee Chairman Kerry was quite right to propose legislation to fix what is obviously a broken system that penalizes consumers when cable operators and broadcasters can’t agree on payments for programming.

“He was also correct to scold the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its failure to start action on a petition submitted by Public Knowledge and many others this March that seeks to revise the retransmission consent process.

“The Cablevision-Fox dispute is only the latest in a series of recent retransmission-consent disagreements that have placed consumers in the middle of big-business negotiations.  These disputes will only increase, and will require prompt FCC action.

“Consumers must be protected, even if that includes some form of interim carriage while negotiations continue. Cable operators and broadcasters must at some point be required to submit to arbitration, with failure to do so a sign they have not negotiated in good faith as the law requires.  That failure would trigger active FCC involvement to resolve the dispute.

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