Sachs: Broadcasters must let market determine digital multicast carriage

Responding to an FCC filing from broadcasters on the transition to digital transmission, National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Robert Sachs has called the effort a “recycled version” of previous demands that “offers no new legal justification” for their demands.

On Oct. 29, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Association for Maximum Service Television and several network affiliate associations and station groups submitted an ex parte filing with the FCC setting forth the steps they regarded as necessary to complete the transition to digital transmission and set a date for analog switchoff. (Editor's Note: See story that follows, “FCC must address cable, satellite questions before analog switchoff, says group” in the FCC Actions section of this edition.

Sachs said that broadcasters’ demands that cable operators be forced to carry six or more video channels per DTV station runs contrary to previous FCC action. The commission, Sachs noted, has held that the Communications Act entitles broadcast stations to must carry of a single digital video channel, adding that multicast carriage is better determined by competition.

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