FCC Seeks Comment On Time Warner, Et Al's Retransmission-Consent  Petition

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It didn't take the Federal Communications Commission long, but as expected, the commission Friday said it was officially seeking comment on a petition by cable and satellite operators that it revamp the retransmission-consent regime, according to a copy of the public notice.

Last week, a an eclectic group led by Time Warner Cable and including the American Cable Association, Dish Network, DirecTV and Public Knowledge, asked the commission to "fix" the retransmission consent system by instituting arbitration for impasses, preventing TV stations from pulling their signals during dispute resolution, and untying retrans deals from those for co-owned cable nets.

The FCC has set an April 19 deadline for comments, with reply comments due May 4.

The request by Time Warner and others came 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.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski signaled at a Hill hearing on the Comcast/NBCU deal that the commission was going to take a look at the retrans regime in light of complaints that the marketplace had outstripped it.\

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