FCC to study rules on cable-broadcast negotiations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators want to do more to avoid TV signal blackouts caused by disputes that pit broadcast television stations against cable companies and other pay TV operators.

The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote Thursday to launch a review of the federal rules that govern negotiations over the fees that subscription video providers — including cable, satellite and phone companies — pay to TV stations to retransmit their signals. To supplement advertising revenue, broadcasters have begun demanding cash for signals they used to give away for free, and that contributes to rising cable bills.

The FCC’s actions follow a series of high-profile standoffs that left some consumers caught in the middle when broadcasters pulled their signals after negotiations with pay TV providers broke down.

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