Cities File FCC Complaint in Charter/Northwest Carriage Dispute

Say Charter provided insufficient notice of blackouts
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The cities of Yuma, Ariz., and El Centro, Calif., and the town of Jackson, Wyo., have jointly filed a complaint with the FCC against Charter/Spectrum systems in their respective municipalities--Bresnan and Time Warner Cable Pacific West--over removal of Northwest Broadcasting TV stations from those systems in a carriage dispute

The complaint asserts that the cities and the subs of the Charter-owned systems involved did not get notice of the station's removal--Northwest stations went off Charter Feb. 2--until after the fact, in violation of the FCC requirement that they get 30 days advanced notice.

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"Not only did Charter fail to provide advance notice, the notice it did provide was misleading," said the cities, "it implied customers had streaming alternatives that either were not adequate substitutes, or would not actually be available to them once Charter stopped carrying the stations. Subscribers were not only given late notice, they were given misleading notice Friday afternoon on Super Bowl weekend."

The cities want the FCC to 1) declare Charter in violation of the rules, 2) order it to "make public disclosures appropriate to correct any misrepresentation that the channel deletion did not involve fault on the part of Charter, 3) provide refunds to subs, 4) and fine it for "knowing, intentional, and repeated violation of the Commission’s rules."

A Charter spokesperson was unavailable for comment at press time.

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