ACA Chairman: HDTV Exemption Gets to Root of Capacity Issue

Patrick Knorr Happy with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin's Proposal

American Cable Association chairman Patrick Knorr told C-SPAN Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin's proposal to exempt smaller cable operators from a 2001 HDTV TV-station-carriage obligation gets to the root of the capacity issues that prompted the ACA to seek a waiver of the FCC's September 2007 dual-carriage requirement.

In an interview for C-SPAN's The Communicators series, Knorr praised Martin's announcement at the ACA's convention in Washington, D.C., Tuesday that he had proposed to the other commissioners giving those smaller cable operators an exemption from a 2001 requirement to carry TV stations' HDTV signals in HD.

Knorr said that without the exemption, the cost and capacity issues could have put some small operators out of business, forced to pay $100,000 to accommodate a few-hundred viewers.

He added that the issue went beyond video service to broadband in smaller markets -- an issue near and dear to the chairman's agenda. "One of the most important providers of broadband to many small communities are cable providers," he said. If they can't affort to provide video service, they won't be able to afford to provide broadband.

"It was a very important public policy decision," Knorr said. While the ACA has asked for a waiver from the FCC's September dual-carriage rules, Knorr said the HDTV exemption got to the "root cause" of the capacity problem that the dual-carriage exemption request was addressing.