According to a source, 10 House Democrats wrote to the Federal Communications Commission Tuesday asking it to delay the vote on multicasting must-carry scheduled for Feb. 10.
Broadcasters have been mounting a wide-ranging lobbying effort to delay the vote, which they anticipate could be to deny them cable and satellite carriage of all their digital channels. Cable is urging the FCC to go ahead and vote, essentially confirming a decision it made back in 2001 to mandate cable and satellite carriage of a single replication of their analog signal.
According to a copy of the letter obtained by B&C, the Democrats urge the FCC "not to consider this proceeding at its February 10 meeting and to defer a vote on the matter until Congress or the FCC develops a comprehensive DTV Transition plan."
That plan, they say, should take into account new DTV public interest obligations, and the possibility that broadcasters would provide more "diverse, public-oriented programming" with additional channels.
The signatories are Butterfield, D-N.C.; Diane Watson, D-Calif.; David Price, D-N.C.; Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii; Sam Farr, D-Calif.; Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.; Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Tex.; Charles Melacon, D-La.; Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio; and Sanford Bishop, D-Ga.