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APTS Cuts 10-Year Carriage Deal With ACA

The nation“s smaller cable lobby this week reached an agreement with public broadcasters to carry digital multicasts and HD signals, where possible, for 10 years. The American Cable Association said this week it ratified the agreement with the Association of Public Television Stations and the Public Broadcasting Service. The groups hammered out the arrangement following a ruling by the FCC exempting small cable operators from a requirement to carry hi-def broadcast signals.

The deal applies to ACA member operations collectively reaching about 3 million households. Those systems will carry PBS and APTS member stations“ primary sitnal on their lowest-priced tier, while multicasts channels will be carried on expanded packages. Those cable systems that do have the capacity to carry HD signals will do so under the terms of the agreement.

The ACA fought against an FCC order that compelled cable operators to carry HD broadcast signals, because many of the association“s smaller operators didn“t have the plant capacity to comply. The carriage deal kicks in next February, when analog broadcast signals will go dark.