FCC: Multicast cable carriage not a must
In a 4-1 vote, the Federal Communications Commission ruled Thursday that cable operators are not on the hook to carry multiple services from digital television broadcasters.
Under the ruling, cable will only have to carry a broadcaster's primary channel. Broadcasters were in favor of rules that would force cable operators to carry multiple services carried within their digital spectrum.
The ruling was a huge win for the cable industry.
"Today's decision is a major victory for consumers because it ensures that the marketplace, not government, will determine which programs local cable systems carry, ensuring greater consumer choice, and more diverse and better quality programming," said NCTA President & CEO Robert Sachs, in a prepared statement.
On that note, the NCTA has struck out on its own to carve out digital television deals. Most recently, cable's top lobbying arm and the Association of Public Television Stations inked a 10-year carriage agreement that paves the way for digital feeds from public TV stations to reach most U.S. cable subscribers.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), meanwhile, said it will seek to overturn the decision, calling it "anti-consumer."
"In Washington, there are no final victories and no final defeats. NAB will be working to overturn today's anti-consumer FCC decision in both the courts and in Congress," said NAB President & CEO Edward Fritts, in a statement.