Lawmakers: Tougher Timetable for News Corp.-DirecTV

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News Corp.’s promise to carry local broadcast channels via DirecTV Inc. in all 210 markets by 2008 isn’t good enough, two Virginia congressmen said.

Reps. Rich Boucher and Robert Goodlatte Tuesday urged FCC Chairman Michael Powell to condition approval of News Corp.’s bid to gain control of DirecTV upon carriage of local channels in all markets by a specific "near term" date.

"We do not think our constituents should have to wait long for services available to other parts of the country since 1999," wrote the lawmakers, who represent rural markets where satellite is the only pay-TV option.

The FCC Monday restarted its unofficial 180-day clock for completing merger reviews. The clock had been stopped at 149 days since Oct. 10 as Media Bureau staff requested and reviewed additional information from News Corp.

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