The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a “standstill” order Monday to ensure that cable and satellite distributors do not drop television signals during carriage disputes. “We establish specific procedures for the Media Bureau’s consideration of requests for a temporary standstill of the price, terms, and other conditions of an existing programming contract by a program carriage complainant seeking renewal of such a contract,” the FCC said in its decision Monday. The standstill will be in place during negotiations in which a party to the dispute has filed a complaint with the commission. The orders will apply to the parties involved in the dispute until the FCC rules on the complaint. The FCC decision also introduced a new rule applying to a vertically integrated broadcasting sector. It will allow the commission to order the carriage of a broadcasting service if a distributor is found to be discriminating against a channel or favouring its own content over another company's. “Congress expressed concern that the market power held by cable operators would adversely impact programming vendors, noting that ‘programmers are sometimes required to give cable operators an exclusive right to carry the programming, a financial interest, or some other added consideration as a condition of carriage on the cable system,’” the FCC noted in its decision. “Congress also explained that increased vertical integration in the cable industry could harm programming vendors because it gives cable operators ‘the incentive and ability to favor their affiliated programmers.'” The order comes following an FCC consultation to review its broadcasting retransmission consent regime, which governs the carriage of broadcasting services. Cable and satellite distributors expressed disappointment with the decision Monday. In June, the CRTC concluded hearings to review its policies related to a vertically integrated broadcasting sector.