Government interference: sides weigh in on broadband, retransmission consent

An active government fosters an even more active community of those who agree or disagree, or just plain want to be heard about that government's policies. As the FCC ponders whether or not to reform retransmission consent and, on another level, how to regulate broadband in a way that keeps innovation flowing, other parties inevitably weigh in.

For instance, a pair of New York Congressmen--Democrat Steve Israel and Republican Peter King--are soliciting signatures for a letter to FCC boss Julius Genachowski supporting a new look at retransmission consent. Sounding a lot like the newly formed American TV Alliance, the reps said they were worried about consumers "who either lose access to broadcast programming or bear the increased costs of such programming."

On the other side of that coin, the National Association of Broadcasters hailed an agreement by Cablevision's (NYSE: CVC) Rainbow Media organization and AT&T (NYSE: T) (which when you look at it really had nothing to do with broadcast retransmission since Rainbow isn't technically a broadcaster) as a reason to keep the rules the way they are.

On the broadband side of things, the NCTA has told Genachowski that his "third way" of applying a light regulatory touch to broadband is "fundamentally at odds" with the way the Internet works and should be shelved. At the same time, the Sacramento Bee took an opposite view, concluding that "The FCC has the power to do the right thing. The time for action is now. The future of the Internet is in the agency's hands."

If nothing else, government participation surely leads to some great drama during the slow summer season.

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