updated: 8/22/2007 1:08:42 PM

[UPDATED] State Lawmaker Intervenes in Comcast, Big Ten Network Dispute

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

 Indiana State Representative Dave Crooks (D-Washington) tells Inside INdiana Business why he's getting involved.

State Representative Dave Crooks (D-Washington) is seeking state help in resolving an impasse between the Big Ten Network and Comcast. The two entities are in negotiations on whether the major cable provider will carry the Big Ten Network. Crooks has written a letter to Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor Susan Macey asking for help in jump-starting the negotiations so that Hoosiers can hopefully have the choice of viewing the fledgling network.

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Source: Inside INdiana Business

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Gerry Dick recently talked with Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman about the project that will launch on August 30. Watch

Earlier this month, Inside INdiana Sports' Bill Benner talked with Mark Apple, vice president of Comcast, on the progress between the two sides.Watch

Letter From State Representative Dave Crooks

Susan Macey
Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor
115 West Washington Street
Suite 1500 South
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dear Ms. Macey,

As the Chairman of the House Commerce, Energy and Utilities Committee, I have been watching with great interest the public debate that is taking place between the Big Ten Network and Comcast regarding the manner the network is carried. Comcast appears to be the major cable provider in the Hoosier state that could set the trend for others. It is my understanding cable companies throughout the state such as Charter and Insight, who serve areas like mine, are awaiting the result of the current negotiations to decide whether to carry the network or not. The purpose of this letter is not to side with one entity or the other in this negotiation process but to ask for your assistance in jump starting what seems to be an impasse on an issue that is important to Indiana.

As you are aware, I was a strong opponent of the Telecommunications Reform Act of 2006. My opposition was based on my belief that consumers, especially consumers in rural districts like mine, would be left with little in the form of safeguards when competition in the telecommunications industry is slow to regulate itself. Proponents of the Act touted it as a mechanism that would result in more access to all things in the communications and cable industries. The impasse between the Big Ten Network and Comcast is causing exactly the opposite, and the result will be unhappy consumers.

Again, I do not have a position as what the price should be for the network or how the cable companies in Indiana choose to distribute it. I do, however, feel strongly that my constituents want to see Indiana University and Purdue University sports. I am also aware of your background as a mediator/arbitrator and I believe your current position and your background make you the perfect state official to prevent Indiana consumers from having to miss their favorite college sports team by getting the appropriate parties to the table for discussion.

Please let me know what I can do to help and let me know as soon as possible what you can do to encourage a solution that will protect Indiana consumers.

Sincerely,

Dave Crooks
State Representative
District 63

Source: Indiana House Democratic Caucus

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