DISH Endorses Retrans Quiet Period for DTV Switch (1 Viewer)

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May 25, 2008
DISH Endorses Retrans Quiet Period for DTV Switch

(SkyReport) DISH Network has embraced a proposed quiet period for retransmission consent agreements during the digital TV transition, telling the Federal Communications Commission that any disputes between pay-TV platforms and broadcasters shouldn't undermine the DTV switch set for February 2009.

Small and mid-sized cable providers initially came up with the retrans "quiet period," suggesting the move could ensure consumers have access to local channels despite any disagreements between pay-TV platforms and broadcast stations. In a letter sent to the FCC Tuesday, DISH said a quiet period "would ensure that commercial disputes do not disrupt service to consumers and add to the confusion surrounding one of the most difficult technical and operational transitions in U.S. television history."

DISH said a quiet period "merely shifts potential consumer disruption beyond the digital transition." Without that quiet period, ongoing consumer education efforts undertaken by the federal government and private industry could be compromised, the satellite TV company said.

In addition, DISH said a retrans quiet period would be a "temporary bridge" that would "help ensure a successful digital transition and allow both broadcasters and pay-TV providers to focus their attention on transition-related issues, such as consumer education."

Also in its letter, DISH criticized the retransmission consent regime, in which broadcasters can negotiate and collect fees from pay-TV companies for carriage of their local signal. The satellite TV company said "astronomical growth in broadcaster fees at the expense of the pay TV industry cannot serve the public interest."
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