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Companies resolve long-running TV channel dispute in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Telecommunications company GCI has resumed carrying three major TV channels after ending a months-long dispute with Alaska television network owners.

An agreement was reached over the weekend and the channel blackout was lifted for GCI customers, said Josh Edge, a GCI spokesperson.

GCI cable customers lost access to ABC, FOX and The CW in January, when a prior programming agreement expired, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The local operators for the three channels are Coastal Television Broadcasting and Vision Alaska.

The dispute was over how much GCI should pay the companies to carry the channels. GCI said the companies demanded to be paid more in the new contract. But Scott Centers, Coastal Television’s chief operating officer, said GCI offered them less than in prior deals.

Edge and Centers declined Monday to provide details of the new contract, including financial terms or the duration. GCI customers will not see an increase in their monthly bills from the new agreement, Edge said.

During the dispute, GCI recommended workarounds for customers to view blacked-out content, including streaming services. Centers started an online petition and called for GCI customers to leave GCI and subscribe to satellite TV.

Centers said he was pleased an agreement was reached.

GCI negotiates television contracts each year with numerous providers, Edge said. A prior blackout, in 2017, left GCI customers in southeast Alaska temporarily without the FOX channel.

The Associated Press