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In the latest contract dispute, Frontier Communications FiOS customers in the Seattle area have lost access to Cox Media Group’s KIRO-TV programming.

Contract negotiations hit an impasse, as Frontier said it refused to bend to Cox’s demands for large fee increases. The service provider claims Cox wants to hike fees more than 80 percent over the next three-year contract period for programming including CBS, Get TV, and Laff TV.

“Cox’s bullying and heavy-handed blackout tactics hurt consumers,” Steve Ward, Frontier SVP of video technology and content, said in a statement. “Their demands for an outrageous price increase would have to be passed on to customers in the form of higher monthly service rates. It’s time for Cox to agree to a fair and reasonable solution.”

Frontier indicated it will continue to reach an agreement with Cox so that programming can be restored “as quickly as possible.”

Also this week, Starz and Encore programming went dark for Altice USA customers in the New York area, after the two failed to reach a new carriage agreement.

Altice asserted rate increases demanded by Starz would force the cable operator’s subscribers to pay more for the service than it would cost for customers to subscribe to the Starz OTT product.  

“We are focused on providing the best content experience for our customers and continually evaluate which channels meet their needs and preferences relative to the cost of the programming imposed by content owners,” Altice said in a statement. “Given that Starz is available to all consumers directly through Starz’ own over-the-top streaming service, we don’t believe it makes sense to charge all of our customers for Starz programming, particularly when their viewership is declining and the majority of our customers don’t watch Starz. We believe it is in the best interest of all our customers to replace Starz and StarzEncore programming with alternative entertainment channels that will provide a robust content experience at a great value."

Altice said it would offer replacement channels as part of a video package for customers who previously received Starz or StarzEncore. The replacement offering includes Hallmark Drama, Sony Movies, MGM HD, HD Net Movies, Flix, and Cowboy Channel. Certain customers will also get a TMC subscription for free, Altice said.

Starz for its part put out a statement saying Altice “has shown an unwillingness to negotiate in good faith to the detriment of our shared customers, and they have removed Starz from their platform. We remain available to discuss a fair and reasonable agreement that will serve the interests of our loyal subscribers.”

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