Time Warner Cable: We'd Agree To Interim Carriage, Binding Arbitration

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The decision is not up to Time Warner, but CEO Glenn Britt has told Sen,. John Kerry (D-Mass.) that the company is willing to agree to binding arbitration with Fox in their retransmission-consent dispute, which Kerry suggested in a letter to both Time Warner and Fox.

Britt said Time Warner would "work around the clock" on an agreement with Fox for carriage so that subs don't lose access to TV station signals -- including big-ticket college bowl games -- beginning Jan. 1, when Time Warner's contract to carry Fox stations expires.

"Time Warner wholeheartedly agrees that any impasse should not result in consumers' loss of access to Fox programming," Britt said.

The cable operator leader gave a big thumbs up to Kerry's arbitration proposal and said Time Warner would be willing to begin an immediate arbitration at the FCC, and "to prevent any disruption to consumers" would agree to an interim carriage deal.

Kerry's office announced the commitment as the senator's winning of an agreement from Time Warner "to protect consumers at risk."

It came in the form of Britt's response to Kerry's letter to Britt and News Corp. president Chase Carey  asking both to resolve the dispute and, in any case, not have consumers/constituents waking up on New Year's Day "without college bowl games."

But since the contract is Fox's to extend or not, the ball is now in News Corp.'s court. The senator's press secretary, Whitney Smith, told Multichannel News that Kerry was still waiting for a response from Carey. Fox said its response would be coming later today.

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