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Dish backs cable on retrans quiet period

Thu, 08/14/2008 - 8:15am
Brian Santo

The Dish Network has thrown its lot in with the cable industry in its desire for a much longer “quiet period” on potential retransmission disputes leading up to and following the digital transition in February.

The basic idea is to avoid disputes over retransmission rights that might add another disruption of service beyond the digital transition itself.

Broadcasters, through the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), offered a one-month ceasefire, from Feb. 4 to March 4.

The American Cable Association (ACA), the trade group for thousands of smaller cable companies who have had plenty of gripes about the unfairness of the retrans system, said the NAB’s gesture was appreciated but completely inadequate. The ACA is negotiating for a period that starts on Jan. 1 – at the latest, and preferably before that, with a duration of six months.

Dish is splitting the difference, asking for a quiet period that would start in mid-December, and suggesting an end date of March 4.

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