U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The Communications Act (Act) requires that a television station give its consent to a cable system or other multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) to carry its broadcast signal.  Television stations and cable systems, as well as satellite carriers, negotiate for this “retransmission consent” and money or other consideration is generally exchanged between the parties in these private negotiations.  If parties with an existing retransmission consent agreement do not reach a new agreement before their carriage contract has expired, they may decide to extend their agreement, which means the MVPD would continue to carry the broadcaster’s station(s) during the negotiations.  If the parties do not reach an agreement, then the MVPD must stop providing  the station to its subscribers. 

The Act requires television stations and MVPDs to negotiate retransmission consent in good faith.  The Commission has implemented the good faith negotiation requirement through a two-part framework for determining whether retransmission consent negotiations are conducted in good faith.  First, the Commission has established a list of objective good faith negotiation standards, the violation of which is considered a per se breach of the good faith negotiation obligation.  47 CFR § 76.65(b)(1).  Second, even if the per se standards are met, the Commission may consider whether a party failed to negotiate retransmission consent in good faith based on the totality of the circumstances. 47 CFR § 76.65(b)(4).  In addition, the Commission has adopted rules governing retransmission consent negotiations between qualified MVPD buying groups and large station groups.  47 CFR § 76.65(b)(2)..

Recent Rulemakings:

Implementation of Section 1003 of the Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019, Report and Order, 35 FCC Rcd 4961 (2020).

Implementation of Section 1003 of the Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 35 FCC Rcd 644 (2020).

Cable Service Change Notifications, Report and Order, 35 FCC Rcd 11052 (2020).

Cable Service Change Notifications, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 34 FCC Rcd 12709 (2019).

Implementation of Sections 101, 103, and 105 of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, Order, 30 FCC Rcd 2380 (2015).

Implementation of Section 103 of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 30 FCC Rcd 10327 (2015).

Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 29 FCC Rcd 3351 (2014).

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 2718 (2011).


Related Guides:

CGB Advisory:  How to Receive a Broadcast TV Station If Dropped From Pay TV Service

For more information on the Policy Division of the Media Bureau, please visit the Policy Division website.
For more information on Television broadcasting, please visit the Video Division website.

FCC > Media Bureau > Video Division, (202) 418-1600.