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NCTA rejects FCC public TV must-carry proposal

Thu, 03/20/2003 - 7:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, in a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell, rejected the agency's proposal for dual must-carry of analog and digital signals - including multicast digital programming — from public TV stations.

The proposal, wrote NCTA Senior Vice President of Law and Regulation Policy Daniel Brenner, "would simply impose new costs on cable operators, programmers and, especially, customers, without any benefits to the digital transition."

Brenner also wrote that every 6 MHz of new bandwidth created represents a $2 billion-plus investment industry-wide by cable operators.

"Until analog capacity can be freed up, the real challenge for cable operators is how to allocate this valuable digital bandwidth among broadcast, digital cable, video-on-demand, HDTV, high speed data, cable telephony and other advanced broadband services," Brenner wrote.

The letter also pointed out that MSOs such as Time Warner Cable and Insight Communications have on their own entered into company-wide agreements to carry public broadcasters' DTV signals on upgraded systems. Further, the letter noted that cable has rolled out public TV digital signals in more than one-third of the 73 top-100 DMAs in which operators are offering HD programming.

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