Public Stations Push Satellite Digital TV Carriage Mandate

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Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) members are buttonholing their legislators to push for mandatory satellite carriage of the digital signals.

They complain that, while companies like DirecTV and EchoStar carry HDTV signals from the Big Four commercial broadcasters, public stations' digital signals generally are not, unless it is the relative handful of digital-only stations (the FCC has allowed some stations to flash-cut to digital only in markets where the impact on analog-only viewers would be negligible).

They want Congress to mandate that those companies carry HDTV and other digital channels during the switch to digital and beyond.

APTS wants Congress to mandate that the carry-one, carry all provision that requires satellite operators to carry all local stations in any market where they choose carry any, also applies to digital channels, including multicast channels.

Public TV stations already have a wide-ranging deal with the cable industry for multicast carriage.

APTS has been making a case at the FCC for digital satellite carriage since 2004, without success.

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