National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Robert Sachs Monday protested that forcing cable to carry
broadcasters' multiple digital signals is not in the public interest.
Many broadcasters want the Federal Communications Commission to require cable
systems to carry all of their digital-broadcast channels -- not just their main feeds or an HDTV mirror of their main feeds, but the six
or more separate digital feeds they could fit into their current 6 megahertz of
Speaking at the National Show in Chicago, Sachs noted that there are 17
different local broadcast stations in that city, ranging from the major outlets
to fringe UHF stations.
Cable systems could be required to carry up to 102 digital-broadcast channels
if the broadcast industry gets its way, he said.
And an individual broadcaster could own one-dozen or more of those channels.
He added that "If programming quality and diversity are public-interest
goals, the forced carriage of multiple digital channels for every TV station
would defeat them."
Instead, Sachs said, the FCC should let cable and broadcast companies
negotiate carriage deals in a market-based way, as CBS, for example, already
has with its owned-and-operated stations.