House Chief Deputy Whip Advises FCC to Stay Out of Fox/Cablevision Fight

Says inserting government into "business-to-business negotiations" could have long-term impacts
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In a letter
to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski dated Oct. 15, House Chief Deputy
Whip G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) said that Cablevision and Fox should
negotiate the terms of a deal "without government
interference."

The two
sides face a midnight deadline for a retransmission consent deal or Fox
stations could go dark on the Cable operators systems.

"In many
markets, including those covered in this current negoation [those
include in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania], consumers have many
options for viewing content: a cable operator, two
satellite providers, two telephone companies, the internet, and
over-the-air," according to a copy of the letter obtained by
B&C/Multichannel News.

He said
inserting the government into "business-to-business negotiations" could
have long-term impacts. "In order to continue to foster strong
competition, private companies should engage in these
negotiations without government intervention."

The FCC has
been monitoring the negotiations, according to Genachowski, and urging a
settlement, but the commission has historically treated retrans as a
marketplace negotiation and so far has shown
no indication of doing more than monitoriing and urging.

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