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Markey Tells FCC to Step IntoRetrans Fight

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wants the FCC to step in to broker an agreement between Cablevision and Fox.

In a letter
Saturday to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Markey said that he was not
weighing in on the merits of either side, saying those were contractual
relations between private parties. But he
said that as the primary author of the Cable Act that established the
retransmission consent regime, he believed the FCC had a
"broader" public interest role in taking note of the "unique
circumstances" in New York.

Those, he
said, included reports that Fox was cutting off Cablevision subscribers'
access to its shows on online video service Hulu.

"This is not
only contrary to the Commission's Broadband Internet Policy Statement
of 2005, which states, in part, that ‘...consumers are entitled to
access the lawful Internet content of their choice'," Markey said. "The tying of cable TV subscription to
access to Internet fare freely available to other consumers is a very
serious concern.  Consumers are losing their freedom to access the
Internet content of their choice - through no fault
of their own - and this is patently anti-consumer."

Markey said
those special circumstances also included the difficulty of subs in
apartment buildings to get an over-the-air signal as an alternative or
installing satellite dishes, yet another alternative.
Both alternatives were suggested by the FCC in a consumer advisory.

"I request
that you take action to bring the parties together," he told

A Fox spokesperson was not available for comment at press