PBS and APTS Sign Public Station Carriage Agreement With Insight Cable

Cable operator Insight Communications will carry public broadcasters' digital signals with its local digital service, according to an agreement reached with the Public Broadcasting Service and the Association of Public Television Stations.

The deal covers 31 noncommercial stations in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and was negotiated by a joint committee of the PBS and APTS boards with the aim of ensuring carriage of digital signals as the stations migrated from analog broadcasting. The pact is similar to a digital carriage agreement that public broadcasters signed with Time Warner Cable in 2000.

APTS President and CEO John Lawson hailed the agreement as embracing FCC Chairman Michael Powell's recent call for cable operators to bring "value-added" digital services.

Some of the principles covered in the agreement are:

* Carriage of more than one public station per market under certain circumstances, since multiple public stations in one market may provide different services to distinct audiences;
* Inclusion of high-definition and multicast programming and program related material;
* Carriage throughout the broadcaster's transition from analog to digital.