Paxson Communications Wednesday told the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that the FCC's response to the broadcasters' call for an immediate decision on digital must carry was "self-serving and misleading," and asked it to "require agency action on full digital must-carry."
Paxson was filing its reply brief in a petition to the court for a writ of mandamus, which effectively compels a federal agency to a certain action, in this case a decision on must-carry.
The FCC told the Court last month that the commission shouldn’t be pushed into making an immediate decision over cable carriage of TV stations’ digital signals, one of the most contentious issues dividing the cable and broadcast industries.
Paxson countered that the FCC has had six years, and that its failure to act threatens the transition to digital.
The FCC also argued that it has already decided the digital must-carry issue--mandated carriage for a replicated primary signal, but not multicast channels. Paxson disagreed, calling that suggestion "a slap in the face to those who have" submitted reams of pages of argument on this issue."
Paxson wants the FCC to require cable companies to carry all of the programming that TV stations can offer via their new digital spectrum. That would increase the value of Paxson's mostly-UHF stations, which are widely believed to have been on the block, or near it, for some time.