NCTA Responds to Fritts' Letter


The National Cable & Telecommunications Association "looks forward" to meeting with the National Association of Broadcasters about digital-TV issues. However, multicast must-carry remains a sticky issue.

"NCTA does not regard dual must-carry of all broadcast stations as a way to advance the digital transition or to jumpstart discussion which NAB abandoned two years ago," NCTA spokesperson Brian Deitz said.

The NCTA response came after NAB President Eddie Fritts sent a letter to the NCTA proposing a meeting on digital transition issues. "We believe that transitional carriage of all broadcast stations on cable can expedite the transition," Fritts wrote in his letter.

The NAB wants the FCC to require cable systems to carry all of a broadcast station's digital channel. That would include the station's digital version of its analog signal, plus any additional services. Cable operators argue that doing so would congest their service, forcing out niche cable networks.

The NCTA's Dietz responded: "Hopefully the NAB has more constructive ideas than asking cable systems to carry every commercial broadcast station twice."