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FCC's Martin Drops Dual Carriage Plan

Martin Forced To Dump His Dual Carriage Plan

Operators Will Have to Carry Analog and Digital Signals For Only Three Years
By Ted Hearn -- Multichannel News, 9/11/2007 9:35:00 PM
Washington -- The cable industry scored a decisive political victory Tuesday night when Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin had to dump a draconian digital TV plan that cable vowed to contest in court, perhaps rupturing the harmony needed by the industry-government effort to shift the nation to all-digital broadcast TV in early 2009 without a massive consumer rebellion.

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Statement of NCTA President & CEO Kyle McSlarrow Regarding the Federal Communications Commission Action on Carriage of Broadcast Signals After the Digital TV Transition

Date: 9/11/2007

"I want to thank each member of the FCC for engaging so constructively and fairly with our industry. We are proud to provide a seamless digital transition for all of our customers.

In 2005, the cable industry made two public commitments. First, despite the fact that this is a broadcaster transition, we said we would join the effort to educate all Americans about the digital TV transition. Last week, we announced a $200 million consumer education campaign that started this month.

Second, we said that we were prepared to go beyond what the law required to take care of our customers to ensure a seamless transition. In 2005, we reached a marketplace agreement with all public broadcasters for carriage during and after the digital transition. We also worked with Congress on a legislative proposal for commercial must carry stations, which ultimately was not included in final passage of the digital transition law. More recently, our industry developed a voluntary plan in which we would commit to three years of dual carriage for commercial must carry stations, taking into account the very limited but special circumstances of small cable systems.

We are pleased that the FCC's action today adopts cable's carriage plan. And we are pleased that the FCC dropped an ill-considered mandate that would have turned back the clock on decades of digital technology innovation. We continue to urge the FCC to act quickly to take into account the special circumstances of very small systems, and to make clear that those systems have the flexibility to serve all their customers without a one-size fits all mandate."

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