Sen. Richard Blumenthal pushes AT&T and Nexstar to strike a deal, restore channels for DirecTV, U-verse
Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut has been urging AT&T as well as Nexstar to restore access to over 120 stations which had been blacked out as of last week, through negotiations. The Nexstar stations in 97 markets in various states across the nation, inclusive of CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX, were removed for users of DirecTV and AT&T U-verse after the two media giants were unable to come to a deal.
The channels went dark from 11:59 p.m. on the 3rd of July, and lasted till Monday night. Blumenthal write to the officials of the channels, and the letter was posted on the Nexstar website as well. It says that while no definitive side has been assumed by the senator himself, the denying of service to the citizens of Connecticut is unnecessary and unfair. He also implored the companies to reach an agreement as soon as possible and provide carriage of WTNH and WCTX through till 2nd August, 2019 as has been urged by Nexstar.
An extension according to the Senator would permit the parties some time to come to an agreement without disrupting the services provided to the customers who are unable to watch even local news. The cut off seems like an effort to enhance the DirecTV bargaining leverage which puts customers in Connecticut at risk of having their TV services hampered. Blumenthal added to the statement by saying that DirecTV will have to refund the amount of loss suffered by subscribers who have lost services commensurate to the value of local channels.
What AT&T and Nexstar say
Both the companies have put the blame on each other. AT&T said in its statement, that Nexstar had removed channels even as AT&T offered them money to make the channels available. They apparently have refused this offer and have removed the channels from the line up altogether.
Nexstar says that AT&T have unilaterally dropped the network and local programming. They also refused to extend the distribution agreement till the 2nd of August. In a new statement which was released on Minday, Nexstar also said that they were going to reiterate the offer of an unconditional extension of the agreement for 30 days to restore channels which had been blacked out, so that the companies could reach an agreement.