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Court Wants FCC Justification for Must Carry Delay

Responding to a request from Paxson Communications, the DC Circuit Court has ordered the FCC to explain its delay in issuing a decision on digital must-carry.

Paxson asked the court last summer to force the commission to finally decide on the digital must-carry issue, which has turned out to be one of the most contentious regulatory hurdles of the DTV transition. Paxson has complained that the FCC's delays harm the progress of the transition. The FCC began its proceeding on digital must-carry six years ago.

Broadcasters want the FCC to impose full digital must carry, forcing cable operators to carry not only the main DTV signal, but auxiliary DTV streams as well, while cable companies claim that such a requirement would impose undue burdens on their systems, and could force them to drop channels.