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Consumer Advocacy Groups, Elected Leaders and Businesses Join Time Warner Cable in Condemning Broadcaster Blackouts on Television and Online

Release Date: 08/13/2013

Since CBS Corporation owned and operated stations went dark on Time Warner Cable’s systems on August 2, a growing number of consumer and civil rights advocacy organizations, elected officials and businesses in the television industry have voiced their concern and opposition to these broadcaster-inflicted blackouts. Furthermore, many consumer protection agencies have voiced outrage at CBS’s intentional blocking of all Time Warner Cable Internet customers from accessing, asserting that these actions are anti-consumer and unnecessarily punish consumers across the nation.

The following organizations and leaders join Time Warner Cable in condemning these anti-consumer steps taken by CBS:

“CBS crossed a line from permissible hardball tactics to unfair consumer abuse when it blocked TWC broadband subscribers from accessing content on The FCC needs to enforce rules on consumer protection, and Congress needs to fix the broken system of retransmission consent.” - Public Knowledge

“It’s bad enough that CBS blacked out its broadcasts for millions of Time Warner Cable customers on Aug. 2 because the cable company would not give in to CBS demands for hugely higher ‘retransmission fees.’ Now CBS is punishing everyone who has Time Warner Cable as an Internet provider by denying them access to the same CBS online content it offers free to the public.” - Consumer Action

“DIRECTV has certainly had its share of these battles, so we applaud Time Warner Cable for fighting back against exorbitant programming cost increases” – DIRECTV

“As long as we all continue to watch television using rules that were written way back in 1992, consumers will continue to be subjected to blackouts and higher fees. And broadcasters will continue to game the system, using retrans fees to purchase more stations and pay for expensive network programming.” - American Television Alliance

“I am also particularly concerned by reports that CBS is blocking access to its Internet-based video for Time Warner Cable broadband customers. A consumer’s choice of cable television provider should not be tied to her ability to access Internet content that is freely available to other consumers. In such instances, consumers lose their freedom to access the Internet content of their choice. This is an anti-consumer result that I urge the Commission to investigate, and I encourage the Commission to actively defend Internet freedom and consumer rights.” – U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA)

“I am concerned by the recent action of CBS to block TWC broadband subscribers from accessing its programs online.” – U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY)

“I must object to CBS’s aggressive negotiating tactics which are undermining my constituents’ access to legal content.” – U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)

Others speaking out on this issue facing consumers:

  • League of United Latin American Citizens
  • Mediacom
  • Cox Communications
  • NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Latino Information Network At Rutgers
  • National Consumer League
  • Free State Foundation
  • The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • American Consumer Institute
  • Madery Bridge
  • National Taxpayers Union
  • Citizens Against Government Waste
  • Parent Television Council
  • Sports Fan Coalition
  • U.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA)
  • U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
  • U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)

To read specific comments and endorsements made by the individuals and organizations listed above, please visit


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