The FCC Has Ruled in Favor of AT&T In a Bad Faith Complaint Over a Contract Dispute With Smaller Local Broadcasters

Today The FCC ruled in favor of AT&T over a complaint that AT&T was negotiating in bad faith with several smaller local TV broadcasters. According to the complaint, AT&T was using its power to unfairly negotiate with these smaller broadcasters. Now the FCC has said they do not agree with that complaint and won’t get involved in the talks between AT&T and these smaller broadcasters, some of which have been dark on AT&T since May 2019.

AT&T sent Cord Cutters News the following statement about the ruling:

Today’s FCC ruling that the broadcast station groups’ behavior was a violation of its rules shows again that the entire retransmission consent process is broken and demands immediate reform. This was clearly one of the more egregious examples of how broadcasters routinely hold consumers hostage into paying higher and higher retrans fees, rather than being stewards of the public airwaves.

The bad faith negotiations that caused these TV blackouts harmed the public and we agree with the FCC’s condemnation of these anti-consumer practices. If Congress does not renew STELAR this year, these broadcaster TV blackouts will increase in frequency, as the FCC will no longer be a backstop against such bad faith conduct from broadcasters.

We have reached agreement with three of the nine broadcasters specifically involved in our complaint (Deerfield Media, GoCom Media of Illinois, and Second Generation of Iowa) and continue to push for progress with the others.

For now, this means the blackout with AT&T for their local TV stations is no closer to coming to an end today.

What do you think of AT&T’s stance and the FCC ruling? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

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