Powell, Ferree wave big stick on DTV


If there was any question about the Federal Communications Commission's
intent to hold out the prospect of tougher regulations to win cooperation with
chairman Michael Powell's plan for jump-starting digital TV, Ken Ferree removed
it Friday.

Companies don't 'do themselves any favors at the commission by not being
proactive,' the new Media Bureau chief told reporters.

A number of digital-TV-related rulemakings are pending at the FCC, including
cable carriage of both analog and digital signals; whether cable systems must
carry broadcasters' multicast or interactive services; and digital-TV-tuner
requirements for new TV sets. Each has major consequences for broadcasters,
cable systems and TV-set makers.

Would the FCC draw political heat for this kind of muscle-flexing? 'I have no
concern that there will be negative impact from the public or [Capitol] Hill,'
Ferree said. 'There is a groundswell of support that this is the right way to