The National Cable & Telecommunications Association said late Wednesday that the industry's 10 largest MSOs have pledged their "strong and enthusiastic" support for a voluntary digital television plan recently drawn up by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell.
In a letter to Powell, NCTA President and CEO Robert Sachs wrote that the operators have "committed their resources to spur the digital TV transition."
MSOs pledging support for the plan, which was announced by the FCC April 4, include AT&T Broadband, AOL-Time Warner, Comcast Corp., Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Adelphia Communications, Cablevision Systems Corp., Mediacom Communications, Insight Communications and CableOne. Together, those MSOs serve more than 85 percent of all U.S. cable customers, the NCTA said.
Those MSOs also committed to provisions outlined in Powell's plan, including the carriage of up to five commercial or public TV stations (at no cost to cable operators or broadcasters), or cable networks that provide HDTV programming during at least 50 percent of their prime time schedule or a substantial portion of their broadcast week by Jan. 1, 2003. The offer also covers cable systems with more than 25,000 subscribers and activated bandwidth of at least 750 MHz in the top 100 markets.
Several operators, including Time Warner Cable, Charter and Comcast, have launched or have committed to launch HDTV in several cities.