Cable Industry Offers Support for Speeding Transition to DTV

National Cable & Telecommunications Association President and CEO Robert Sachs this week pledged the cable television industry's "strong and enthusiastic support" for voluntary industry actions to speed the transition to DTV proposed by FCC Chairman Michael Powell.

Sachs conveyed the support of the industry's 10 largest multiple system operators to spurring the digital TV transition. The MSOs are: AT&T Broadband, AOL-Time Warner, Comcast, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Adelphia Communications, Cablevision Systems, Mediacom Communications, Insight Communications and CableOne. They collectively serve more than 85 percent of the cable customers in the United States.

Sachs explained that, "Central to the actions announced by the cable industry is our belief that the availability of high definition television is key to creating the market incentive for American consumers to purchase digital TV receivers."

The MSOs have committed to:

* Offering to carry the signal of up to five commercial or public TV stations or cable networks that provide HDTV programming during at least 50 percent of their primetime schedule or a substantial portion of their broadcast week;
* Offering to carry other value-added DTV programming that would create an incentive for consumers to purchase DTV sets;
* Ordering integrated HD set-top boxes with digital connectors and provide them to customers;
* Advertising and marketing HDTV and "value-added DTV programming."