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NAB pushes for DTV multicast must-carry

One of the top priorities for the NAB as Congress returns from its August recess is to secure DTV multicast must-carry legislation. Legislators are considering proposals to bring analog broadcast service to a conclusion, according to association president and CEO Edward Fritts.

As part of its legislative push, the NAB unveiled results of a new study showing the financial benefits of multicast DTV carriage by cable systems. In addition, the NAB released a survey finding that 85 percent of TV stations intend to create additional local program streams if Congress passes pro-multicast DTV legislation.

The NAB's survey revealed that nearly 80 percent of TV stations are unlikely to create multicast local program streams without cable system carriage assurances. Additionally, NAB introduced its newest ad that will appear in Capitol Hill publications stressing the importance of multicast must carry.

The NAB president said multicast carriage for DTV channels is “not a capacity burden” for cable operators and pointed to comments from FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, who has stated that cable operators would have "significantly less" burden carrying digital broadcast programming than analog TV programming given advances in digital compression technology.

The cable industry has resisted any new must-carry mandate forcing operators to carry broadcast multicast DTV signals, arguing that to do so would run contrary to their First Amendment rights and reduce system capacity and consumer access to new cable services.

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