FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel Moves To Protect TV Viewers During Blackouts
FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel Moves To Protect TV Viewers During Blackouts
FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel Moves To Protect TV Viewers During Blackouts

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    Today, the Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel circulated two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking to seek comment on rebates for consumers experiencing cable blackouts and to require cable operators to notify the agency of cable blackouts lasting more than 24 hours. Public Knowledge commends the agency for moving forward to protect consumers during cable blackouts.

    The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Legal Director at Public Knowledge:

    “The high frequency of cable blackouts should not normalize them. TV blackouts are a disruption to viewers, cutting them off from the channels and shows they pay for, and can be a major inconvenience if these blackouts coincide with major sports, news, or entertainment events. It’s good to see the FCC beginning to take action on this subject.

    “Viewers enter into service agreements with their cable providers to access their favorite channels and shows. While it’s undeniable that content costs are soaring in today’s rapidly evolving media marketplace, cable providers’ efforts to cut costs should benefit subscribers first.  No one should have to pay for programming they are not receiving. The proposal to require refunds to customers for blackouts and lost programming will bring more fairness to subscribers if adopted by the Commission.

    “Additionally, good policymaking hinges on accurate and comprehensive data. If adopted, the proposal to ensure that blackouts are documented will lay the groundwork for informed decisions that address the root causes of these disruptions.”