Sens. Boxer, Feinstein urge end to Time Warner Cable-CBS dispute

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Monday sent a letter to CBS Corp. Chief Executive Les Moonves and Time Warner Cable chief Glenn Britt, urging them to end the dispute that has resulted in CBS-owned channels being blacked out in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas for a second week. 

“Millions of customers in the Los Angeles area and throughout the country have subscribed to receive the programming CBS networks create and Time Warner Cable distributes, but are unable to access it because of this standoff,” said Boxer and Feinstein in the joint letter. “The status quo is unfair to the millions of your customers who are caught in the middle of your dispute, and we strongly encourage both sides to resolve it immediately.”

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The letter from Boxer and Feinstein comes after Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who recently won John Kerry's Senate seat, last week called on the Federal Communications Commission to intervene. Markey was the House of Representatives' primary author of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 and has often been a thorn in the side of the cable industry.

The two giants have been fighting over the increased retransmission consent fees that CBS wants to charge. CBS also wants to be able to scale back Time Warner Cable’s rights over distribution of its programming digitally as online players such as Netflix and Hulu continue to grow.

The ongoing dispute has caused affected customers to miss programming including the Stephen King book-based thriller series "Under the Dome," some preseason NFL games and the PGA championship. A la carte channel Showtime is one of the signals that has gone dark.


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