Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, today applauded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for taking a key step to protect consumers from being denied the television channels they pay for and rely on as a negotiating tactic during disputes between broadcasters and cable companies.
The FCC today announced they will move forward with a "notice of proposed rulemaking," a proposed set of rules to reform the way broadcasters and cable companies negotiate during retransmission disputes.
"Our Committee has been plugging away at this issue for the better part of a year, and there is broad agreement that there's got to be a better answer than to again and again have consumers become collateral damage in the contract collisions between major corporate entities. I'm happy to hear that the FCC will initiate a rulemaking process to address the now all too frequent disruptions that consumers have experienced. Today's announcement recognizes that when disputes end in lost signals and dark television screens, no one wins," said Sen. Kerry.
"With the FCC taking action and their experts focused on a solution, there's no need to introduce legislation at this time," Kerry added. "I will work with the FCC and appreciate the agency listening and acting to foster a better dialogue and a more rational system."
Kerry has led the Senate's efforts to reform retransmission disputes. He has sent a series of letters to cable companies, broadcasters, and the FCC during disputes that threatened to cut TV signals for consumers. He also provided draft legislation to the FCC in October to protect consumers and encourage reform. Last month, Kerry chaired a hearing entitled "Television Viewers, Retransmission Consent, and the Public Interest."