Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, today released a statement following last night's retransmission resolution between Fox and Cablevision that restored TV signals to families across the Northeast.
"We're all happy and relieved to see both strike an agreement and bring an end to a stalemate that frustrated so many consumers," said Sen. Kerry. "Media interests have every right to play hardball and negotiate hard-nosed agreements. That's the marketplace. But I believe it's incumbent upon those of us in public policy to see if there's a way to help protect consumers and avoid the now regularly scheduled, frequent games of high stakes chicken that leave consumers in the crossfire as collateral damage. Is there a better way? Common sense tells you there has to be. I don't believe it's really in anyone's interests to have these scenarios play out again and again on a regular basis. Certainly at a minimum Congress can bring greater transparency to this process and empower consumers with more information, and work to disincentivize high stakes conflict. What I know is that this system is broken, and I think we're all better off if we have a dialogue about systemic reform and modernizing the law rather than just jumping into the fray and getting involved in each conflict in isolation. The goal should be a more rational system, and I look forward to working with stakeholders, colleagues and the FCC toward that end."
Earlier this month, Senator Kerry sent a letter to Chairman Genachowski along with draft legislation to protect consumers from disputes like Cablevision/Fox. "It's not our job to take sides, but it is our responsibility to help find a better way forward," Kerry wrote. "The goal of this legislation is to offer a path towards resolution that reforms a broken system and protects the consumers who get caught in the middle."