NCTA and MAP Take Aim at Home Shoppers

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The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and the Media Access Project (MAP) both took aim at home shopping stations in comments at the FCC.

 The commission asked for comments--due July 18--on its 1993 decision that home shopping stations should get mandatory cable carriage because they were significantly viewed, met the public interest needs of the homebound and elderly who could not get out to shop, they provided competition to other non-broadcast services, and that home shopping programming helped minority owners remain financially viable.

But asked to reconsider that decision earlier this year, the FCC asked whether potential nonbroadcast uses of the spectrum should have been taken into account, as well as how home shopping stations fulfill obligations to program top children and cover issues of public importance.

Saying that 1993 decision was erroneus and needed rectifying, NCTA told the FCC that cable's demands for high-speed telephony and HDTV and Internet access and more should be taken into account." There is no justification for forcing cable operators to continue to carry home shopping stations," the NCTA concluded.

MAP agreed, calling the 1993 decision "fatally flawed" and saying stations that are predominantly used to host sales presentations do not serve the public interest given competing demands for the spectrum.

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