In the Public Interest

Congress has been rather busy the past couple of weeks, wrestling with the so-called “bailout bill,” which has now been signed into law.

Given such a daunting task, it would be easy to forgive our elected officials if they gave into the temptation to delay other important work. Fortunately, on at least one issue, that temptation did not prevail.

Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Nathan Deal (R-GA) took time to write a letter to the FCC last week, encouraging the Commission to establish a “quiet period” that starts by or before the end of 2008 and extends for a reasonable period beyond the digital broadcast transition.

The goal of this “quiet period,” which Suddenlink also supports, is to make sure that any failed retransmission consent negotiations don’t confuse the viewing public, or otherwise interfere with the digital transition, slated for Feb. 17, 2009.

In their letter, Reps. Eshoo and Deal wrote:

Consumers will face enough difficulties navigating the transition and we certainly don’t need the added confusion of restransmission consent disputes that will ultimately hurt consumers preceding the transition.

Although Suddenlink does not serve customers in the districts of Reps. Eshoo and Deal, we do serve approximately 100,000 homes in Rep. G.K. Butterfield‘s district in North Carolina. Rep. Butterfield sent a similar letter to the FCC earlier this week, in which he wrote:

I respect the free-market conduct of retransmission negotiations. However, recognizing the critical, complex nature of the DTV transition, I believe it is both reasonable and in the public interest to prevent failed retransmission negotiations from interfering with this transition.

More residents in Rep. Butterfield’s district read this blog than residents in Reps. Eshoo’s and Deal’s districts. Regardless, for anyone who stops by here and is so inclined, we hope you’ll take a moment to commend one or all of these officials for their support of this logical and beneficial public policy.