Sen. John Kerry, head of the Senate telecommunications subcomittee, just sent out another letter demanding both sides resolve their fight and get the signal back on.

  Here's his full statement. As you may know, he sent a letter to the FCC chair which has declined to act on the dispute - so far.   (And I suspect you're asking the same question I am asking right now: Could Kerry force the signal back on? I'm reasonably certain the answer is "no." But he can cause some trouble going forward, particularly if he choses to introduce a bill or bills that would curtail black-out tactics in the future...)


“Early this morning and just ahead of the Oscars, ABC pulled its
channel from Cablevision customers because the two companies cannot
agree on the value of the signal,” said Sen. Kerry.  “It’s neither
my place nor my goal to pick sides in this dispute, my concern as
Chairman of the Communications Subcommittee is that this morning
three million households, including many who will not know where to
get a digital receiver today or how to install it, will find that a
service they pay for monthly is not delivering what was promised.

 

“What bothers me is that these consumers are collateral damage in a
fight between two companies.  I strongly urge these two companies to
sit down and find a way for the signal to be restored today and
negotiate in good faith.  If a true impasse is reached, then I urge
the parties to seek the assistance of the FCC to resolve it or enter
into arbitration.

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“When pulling a signal becomes the nuclear option in negotiation, it
inflicts collateral damage on consumers who pay their bills and have
done nothing wrong. Someone needs to be speaking up for them in this
dispute and those like them, and make no mistake, this is the latest
example of consumers getting caught in the middle because the high
stakes incentives created in these negotiations are not working for
the average customer who just expects their programming to be there
when they want it.”