NCTA Unhappy with Martin’s Class-A Plan

National Cable & Telecommunications Association against FCC chairman's plan to give class-A low-power-TV stations path to full-power TV citizenship.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association was not pleased with Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin's plan to give class-A low-power-TV stations a path to full-power TV citizenship, calling it unnecessary and illegal.

Martin proposed allowing more than 550 class-A stations to apply for status that would get them guaranteed cable carriage, saying that it will boost programming diversity given that many of those are Spanish-language stations.

“Just this week, Congress reminded the FCC of its significant challenges in the face of the looming digital-TV transition," the NCTA said in a statement. "So we are surprised that the chairman again wants to distract the commission and throw a monkey wrench into its transition efforts by tinkering with the law and imposing unnecessary and unconstitutional requirements."

The NCTA, which represents cable operators nationwide, said Congress granted must-carry rights to LPTVs only in limited circumstances, adding, "Requiring cable operators to carry hundreds of class-A low-power stations would violate the Constitution and Congress’ intent while jeopardizing the wide diversity of programming that is already available on cable systems nationwide.”

Martin scheduled his proposal for an Oct. 15 vote.