Frank vows to repeal retrans

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) says he’ll offer legislation that would repeal the broadcast industry-backed provision retransmission consent when Congress returns in January.

Frank said in a statement that retransmission consent is “potentially very anti-consumer and should be repealed.”

Retrans consent is the controversial provision tucked into the recently passed cable reregulation law. The proposal allows broadcasters to negotiate payments from cable operators for carrying broadcast signals they previously received for free. If cablers refuse to pay, broadcasters could withhold the signal distributed by cable systems.

A broadcast industry source said it is “not surprising” that Frank plans to offer a bill killing retrans, since the Massachusetts lawmaker was an opponent of the provision earlier this year. (Frank eventually voted in favor of the cable bill, however.) Frank is a member of the House copyright subcomittee, chaired by Rep. William Hughes (D-N.J.). Hughes is an opponent of retransmission consent, as is House Judiciary Committee chairman Jack Brooks (D-Texas).

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