Time Warner Cable is expected to file a petition at the FCC
atop a coalition of cable operators and others asking the FCC to reform the
retransmission consent process.
According to sources, the petition is asking for independent
arbitration during retrans disputes and interim carriage during that
That comes in the wake of a high-profile retrans impasse
between Time Warner Cable and Fox last December, and the more recent stand-off
between Cablevision and Disney-owned WABC.
The American Cable Association, which represents small and
mid-sized operators, confirmed that it had signed on to the petition.
"The suggested remedies in the petition raise some of
the ideas the FCC should consider, and ACA gladly signed this petition with
larger operators to make them known," said ACA President Matthew Polka in
a statement. "As this process moves forward, ACA intends to address also
the rampant price discrimination faced by smaller cable operators and their
customers and the need for regulations to fix this problem as well."
That was said not to be one of the petition's suggestions.
"Once the FCC puts this petition out for public
comment," said Polka, "ACA will add this issue to the list of
problems with the current retransmission consent rules, particularly for
smaller operators, and strongly advocate for the problems to be solved."
Also said to either be considering signing on to the
petition or already on it are DISH and DirecTV, Verizon, Mediacom, Charter
and Public Knowledge.
A Time Warner spokesperson would not discuss the
substance of the petition, but did confirm that it is filing the petition
Public Knowledge spokesman Art Brodsky confirmed his group was also signed on.
"There are sufficient consumer protections in there," he said, "certainly not all that we'd like to see."
He confirmed that included arbitration and keeping signals on during disputes.
"Should the FCC accept the petition and put it out for comment," he added, "we could certainly take that as an opportunity to push for more consumer protection measures."