In the wake of last weekend’s retransmission standoff between Cablevision and the Walt Disney Company that left Cablevision viewers without access to the ABC network on the eve of the Oscars broadcast, a coalition of cable and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers asked the FCC on Tuesday to amend rules on retransmission consent. Coalition members lament that those rules are “broken and in need of repair.” The group includes Cablevision, Time Warner Cable (TWC), Verizon Communications, DirecTV, DISH Network, Charter Communications, and Bright House Networks. Like other recent disputes that include TWC’s New Year’s Eve showdown with News Corp. over the carriage of Fox channels, the Cablevision-Disney spat is centered upon what multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) assert are the increasingly exorbitant fees that broadcasters are demanding for carriage of networks and other programming on cable, DBS, and IPTV systems. After Cablevision refused Disney’s request for an extra $40 million per year for rights to carry ABC, Disney cut off the ABC channel feed to Cablevision viewers last Sunday. (In response to subscriber outcry, that signal was restored twenty minutes into the Oscars program, and the parties have agreed to maintain carriage under current terms as negotiations continue.) Fearing that disputes of this kind that leave viewers in the dark will become more commonplace, the coalition members asked the FCC in a petition to address “skyrocketing consumer costs by establishing a new framework for resolving retransmission consent disputes.” That framework, according to the petitioners, should include mandatory arbitration or the establishment of an “expert tribunal” that would oversee carriage negotiations and that would also require the parties to continue carriage under current terms as long as the parties “negotiate in good faith.” Asserting that current FCC rules “have repercussions for what Americans can view and how much they pay for it,” Senate Communications Subcommittee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) told FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski: “we need to fix the system.” National Association of Broadcasters executive vice president Dennis Wharton warned, however, that a change in the FCC’s rules could result in “the demise of local broadcasting.”