NAB Supports Extending Cable Carriage Mandate

Supports FCC's proposal that it modify the waiver so that it would not apply to any smaller cable system that offers HD versions of other channels
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Not surprisingly, the National Association of
Broadcasters (NAB) wants the FCC to retain its cable analog
carriage mandate for another three years. NAB also supports small
cable operators' bid to retain their waiver of the HD carriage mandate for
another three years.

"The
Viewability Rule has worked well to minimize the disruption of the digital
transition to cable subscribers with analog receivers," NAB said, "Since there
remain millions of analog receivers served by cable systems, the Commission
should extend the Viewability Rule to ensure compliance with the Communications
Act's command that must carry signals be provided to and viewable by all
subscribers to a cable system."

The
commission last month asked whether it should extend the mandate that cable
operators deliver all TV stations' digital signals in analog format to analog
customers or, alternatively, make sure all its customers have the equipment to
view a digital signal.

It
may be in the form of a question, but the FCC signaled in its rulemaking
proposal that it was pretty sure of the answer. "The available market
evidence seems to indicate that the viewability requirements remain important
to consumers."

NAB also proposed extending the HD exemption to
smaller cable operators. That is a waiver of the DTV-related viewability
mandate, a 1997 prohibition on material degradation of the broadcast signal
that requires cable operators to deliver broadcasters' HD signals in HD to all
their customers, whether or not they get cable channels in HD.

NAB says it also supports the FCC's proposal that
it modify the waiver so that it would not apply to any smaller cable system
that offers HD versions of other channels.

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