FCC Gives More Time To Weigh In On PEG Channels
Citing the volume of comments, the FCC extended the reply comment period to April 1
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/16/2009 3:17:15 PM
Citing the volume of comments, the FCC will give interested parties
more time to weigh in on whether cable operators can move PEG channels
to analog, whether there should be more specific rules about the signal
quality of those channels relative to others, and how AT&T's
U-Verse service should be defined relative to PEG requirements.
The FCC Monday extended the reply comment period on a request for a declaratory ruling on (PEG) public, educational and government channels from March 24 until April 1.
The commission said that between Feb. 6, when it issued the call for comment, to the March 9 deadline it had recieved more than 500 comments, some of them "quite complex." Originally, only the petitioners were going to get to reply to those comments, but the FCC has decided to open up replies to all comers, which it said necessitated moving the deadling for replies.
As a result, it is also waiving the requirement that the petitioners serve their reply comments to all 500-plus commenters.
Many of those 500 comments were prompted by Free Press, which wants the FCC to require that all cable systems "must pass through closed captioning and secondary audio programs when provided by PEG content producers; must offer PEG content through the same interface and service tier as other basic cable channels, with no extra obstacles; and must deliver PEG content to the customer at the same video and audio quality as other basic cable channels." .
Free Press also requested that the FCC define AT&T's U-verse
service as a cable service subject to PEG requirements. In a related
petition, four Michigan communities are asking the FCC to rule on whether
Comcast should have been able to move PEG channels to a digital tier
Isn't it ironic that C-Span used the argument in their sucessful bid to get a 'stay' in the implementation of new leased access rules that if they were moved to the digital stratosphere to make way for leased access, and I assume PEG, channels the loss of viwers on those tiers would put them out of business.
The law seems pretty clear the intent of Congress was that PEG, leased access and must carry all be on the tier recieved by most subscribers.
C-Span is the PR agent for the cable industry. If they contend being moved to the digital tiers will shut them down, will they and cable agree to the same happeing to PEG and leased access programming?
Where's that proverabial 'level playing field' cable cries so loudly for?
Charlie Stogner - 3/17/2009 12:03:42 AM EDT
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