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Battle Brewing in Washington: Retransmission Consent

Updated: Wednesday, July 23 2014, 07:59 PM EDT

Sixty million Americans have relied on free over the air television for the past 70 years to be informed and entertained. But now a fight in Washington could affect what those viewers see.

The battle between cable companies and broadcasters, like most business fights go, centers over money.

The dispute is over something called retransmission consent, which means cable providers must pay over the air broadcasters for the right to deliver their channels to paying TV customers.

An alliance of cable companies says broadcasters are asking for higher retransmission rates which lead to higher bills for the viewer.

But cable companies and satellite providers already pay for many networks they carry. Customers foot the bill for all of these networks whether they watch them or not.

For example, all of the ESPN networks combined can add up to almost $9 a month on some bills. Those rates are much higher than what local broadcasters ask for.

Broadcasters argue fees they receive from cable companies are key to sustaining local news, sports, and weather while also making it possible to continue providing free broadcast services to the community.

It's a battle that could be decided in congress as key legislation awaits passage.

If you want your voice heard, you can call the keepmytv action hotline at 855-988-1188. You can also sign a petition at

Battle Brewing in Washington: Retransmission Consent

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Washington Times