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Wheeler Concerned About Online Retrans Blackouts

During questioning by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) in a House Communications Subcommittee FCC oversight hearing Tuesday, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said he was concerned, and everyone else should be too, about instances where subscriber access to online content was blocked as part of a programming dispute.

Welch noted that the blackouts seemed to be migrating to online and asked if it was the beginning of the "cable-ization" of the Internet.

Wheeler responded that it was the right question to ask. He said the FCC's authority was based in enforcement of good faith negotiations and said that he had "reason to be concerned because I have subscribed to a certain ISP who is in a dispute with a program provider, that the program provider blocks all access from all IP addresses coming from that ISP. I think that is something that is of concern and that we all should worry about."