Verizon Fios Warns Subscribers Cox Media Stations Could Be Blacked Out

Verizon Fios truck
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Verizon Fios is warning viewers that stations owned by Cox Media Group in Boston and Pittsburgh could be blacked out when their retransmission-consent agreement expires on December 15.

The blackout would also affect the Pittsburgh Cable News Channel.

Fios said the station group has “proposed an unacceptable rate increase” to continue to carry the stations.

CMG’s stations are already blacked out in a dispute with Dish.

“We have been negotiating productively with Verizon for several weeks and remain optimistic we will come to terms on a fair market deal to keep our award-winning local news, investigative journalism, and popular sports and entertainment programming on Fios TV,” CMG said in a statement.

Also: Unions Cite Dish-Cox Retrans Flap to Argue Against Tegna Deal

A blackout would affect about 340,000 Fios customers. Fios subscribers suffered a two-week blackout of Nexstar stations that ended in October.

“For nearly two decades, broadcasters like Cox have forced cable and satellite providers — and their customers — to pay unreasonably high fees to access local stations. Broadcasters often remove their channels from consumers until TV providers agree to pay more — even though the same channels are available for free over the air,” Verizon said in a statement. “It’s time for our leaders at the FCC and in Congress to protect consumers by holding them — and other broadcasters who frequently use this tactic — accountable. We will continue to work hard to put our customers first and come to a fair agreement on their behalf.” ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.