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Cable to competition: Fight the good fight

Thu, 09/21/2000 - 8:00pm
Karen Kessler

Showing itself to be a good sport, the cable industry threw its support behind the DBS court battle over must-carry rules.

A satellite operator's coalition, consisting of the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association, DirecTV and EchoStar filed suit in Virginia this week. The suit seeks to overturn a 1999 law mandating that DBS carriers provide all local TV signals in a market if they decide to carry even one. The DBS industry says the law is a violation of First and Fifth Amendment rights.

"We do not believe there is any constitutional justification for must-carry requirements," a National Cable Television Association spokesperson said.

Should DBS win the suit, it will mean a competitive imbalance between the DBS and cable industries. DBS would be free of any must-carry rules, while cable ops would still be forced to devote up to one-third of all channels for local carriage.

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