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Nearly two weeks after Starz programming went dark for Altice USA customers in the New York area, two members of Congress are urging both sides to resolve their carriage dispute immediately.

Reps. Yvette Clarke and Hakeem Jeffries sent a letter Thursday to Starz CEO Chris Albrecht and Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei asking the two sides to “engage in good faith negotiations and come to a mutually agreeable resolution that allows the people in our districts to continue to have access to all of the content they enjoy.”

Clarke and Jeffries represent New York’s 9th and 8th congressional districts, respectively, in Brooklyn and Queens, and said hundreds of thousands of customers in those districts have been without Starz channels and programming since Dec. 31 when Starz and Altice failed to negotiate a new carriage agreement.

Altice has asserted Starz was demanding rate increases that would force the cable operator’s customers to pay more for the service than it would cost customers to subscribe to the Starz OTT product.

Starz claimed that Altice was unwilling “to negotiate in faith to the detriment of our shared customers,” but noted it was still open to discuss a “fair and reasonable agreement.”

“Understandably, it is important for Altice to keep its operational costs at a reasonable level,” the Reps. wrote. “Equally significant, we strongly recognize the interest Starz has in receiving fair value for its quality diverse programming that is representative of the communities we serve in Brooklyn and Queens.”

“This programming is of particular importance to the African American community, and we are disappointed that such content is no longer available to Optimum subscribers,” they added.

 

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