-- by Gus West, for The Hill:
March 10, 2016
Once again, the powerful and wealthy pay-TV industry is playing politics with Americans’ access to vital programming in order to pad their pocketbooks. On Friday, March 4, AT&T U-Verse stopped providing Univision’s networks to its millions of subscribers around the United States. While AT&T has agreed to pay market rates to English-language broadcasters, it apparently does not feel it necessary to treat the largest U.S. Spanish-language network, known for its unique relationship and commitment to the Hispanic community, in the same manner.
Indeed, viewers who lost service learned very quickly what AT&T thinks of Spanish-language media. In place of Univision’s networks were notices saying “please enjoy” a few other Spanish-language networks that AT&T carries, as if all Spanish-language networks are interchangeable. Meanwhile, there are Spanish-speaking households across the country who are currently blocked from accessing the Univision networks they pay for and depend upon. These subscribers are turning on their televisions and finding that they cannot watch the content they love and need most, simply because AT&T does not value these paying customers' needs and interests. That is not just bad business – it’s bad ethics.
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