FCC in stalemate on digital carriage


FCC commissioners appear deadlocked on broadcasters' digital-cable carriage
rights. Only a few weeks ago, they seemed set on a rulemaking that rejected dual
analog/digital carriage during the digital-TV transition, but they tentatively concluded that TV
stations are entitled to carriage of all free channels, program guides and some
other services they can shoehorn into a 6-megahertz channel.

FCC staffers wouldn't explain the delay, but industry sources said the split pits
commissioners Michael Copps and Kevin Martin, who favor imposing full carriage
rights now, against Michael Powell and Kathleen Abernathy, who oppose any
mandate until the constitutionality of such a move is clear.