Would you be shocked if your favorite channels on DISH stopped working one day? That’s what happened to millions of DISH customers recently when a carriage dispute left them without 64 local and national channels. Here’s what you need to know about the dispute and how to get back your favorite networks.

What Happened?

For years, DISH Network and AT&T’s DIRECTV could both provide customers with access to some of the most popular channels, including ABC, NBC, Fox, Food Network and more. All of that changed on July 10th, when DISH subscribers suddenly lost access to 64 major networks due to a contractual dispute between DISH and AT&T.

Affected Channels

DISH subscribers suddenly lost access to 64 major networks due to a contractual dispute. Among them were:

• AT&T SportsNet

• ABC

• CW

• Fox

• NBC

• MyNetwork TV

• ESPN

• NFL Network

• Fox News

• Fox Business

• Fox Sports

• Food Network

• HGTV

• MLB Network

• NBC Sports

• Oxygen

• The Weather Channel

• TNT

• TBS

• Univision/UniMas

• CBS

What is Behind the Dispute?

The contract between AT&T and DISH expired on July 8, 2020 and the two companies have yet to reach a new agreement. While cord-cutting has become increasingly popular in the US, DISH Network continues to be one of the largest pay-TV providers in the country. AT&T is seeking a substantial rate increase from what DISH paid in the previous contract.

What is DISH Doing in Response?

Although AT&T’s rate increase is substantial, DISH Network has stated that they are willing to pay more if AT&T is transparent about how much they receive in retransmission fees and how it is being spent. DISH has offered a short-term extension to help get the channels back on the air while they negotiate a longer-term deal.

What Can DISH Subscribers Do?

The good news is that DISH subscribers can still watch their favorite programs and movies on streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video. There are also other ways to watch DISH’s missing channels without a contract, such as Sling TV, which operates separately from DISH and carries many of the missing networks including ESPN and HBO.

Seek a Refund

Subscribers who have prepaid for their DISH Network service may be entitled to a refund from AT&T if the dispute is not resolved soon. If you prepaid for your subscription, visit the DISH Network website and contact their customer service department to see if you are eligible for a refund.

Contract Disputes Happen

DISH is the latest company to experience a contract dispute, following similar disputes with Comcast and Charter in recent months resulting in customers losing access to some popular channels. These disputes often lead to customers dropping their service in search of better options.

Is DISH the Right Choice?

If you’re considering a pay-TV subscription, you should know that contract disputes are becoming more common. If DISH is the only option in your area or the network selection is preferable, there’s no harm in signing up. Just be sure to research your provider’s customer service ratings, pricing and package options carefully before making a commitment.

DISH Network customers recently lost access to 64 major channels due to a carriage dispute with AT&T. While negotiations between the two companies continue, customers can still watch their favorite programs and movies on streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video. If you prepaid for your subscription, you may also be eligible for a refund from AT&T. When considering a pay-TV subscription, it’s important to research the provider’s customer service ratings, prices, and package options carefully to avoid becoming a victim of a contract dispute in the future.