AT&T seeks lawmakers' help in getting Cox to play ball in San Diego

AT&T has sought and received bi-partisan congressional help in its efforts to wrest San Diego Padre baseball games from the clutches of incumbent cable provider Cox Communications. Congressmen Bob Filner, a Democrat and his Republican counterpart Duncan Hunter wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski complaining that Cox "continues to refuse the licensing of Padres' games to competitive video providers in the San Diego market."

AT&T argues that it wants to air the Padres games on U-verse and Cox continues to use a loophole in the FCC program access rules--which the courts and FCC have preliminarily closed, pending appeals--to withhold it.

And speaking of programming disputes, Iowans, who already nearly missed the Orange Bowl when broadcaster Sinclair and cable operator Mediacom failed to reach carriage agreement, are hunkering down for more trouble ahead as the two industries shuffle into opposing positions.

"The satellite guys were always more than willing to pay for our signals. The playing field has been leveled and, now that we're asking cable to pay, they say it isn't fair," said John Phelan, general manager of ABC Cedar Rapids affiliate KCRG-TV, not sounding anything like a man who's ready to concede an inch to the cable companies.

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