Skip to main content

Dems Want FCC to Mediate Verizon/Univision Impasse

Senate Democrats have called on Univision and Verizon (with an assist from the FCC) to settle their retransmission consent impasse, which has kept Univision nets off Verizon's FiOS MPVD and mobile wireless platforms since Oct. 16.

In a letter to Verizon and Univision CEO's Lowell McAdam and Randy Falco, respectively, as well as to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the senators expressed their concern with the ongoing dispute, pointing to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico and the importance of Spanish-language news.

They said they were not weighing in on who was right or wrong in the dispute, saying they recognized they were "contractual discussions between private parties," But they asked the FCC to bring those parties together--there is precedent for that--so the negotiations can conclude and the impasse be resolved.

They said consumers were being unfairly disadvantaged.

An FCC spokesperson was not available for comment, but both sides have given the FCC their side of the story. The FCC, under both Republican and Democratic chairs, is historically reluctant to get involved, though the FCC often monitors and is in contact with parties in protracted, high-profile impasses, particularly ones that draw Hill attention.

The FCC would not confirm earlier in the impasse whether the chairman had reached out to the parties.

Signing on to the letter were Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, both Massachusetts; Bob Casey (Pa.); Bob Menendez (N.J.); Cory Booker (N.J.); and Ben Cardin (Md.).