Abernathy Opposed to Dual Must-Carry - Multichannel

Abernathy Opposed to Dual Must-Carry

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Washington -- Federal Communications Commission member Kathleen Abernathy
said Tuesday that she is opposed to mandatory cable carriage of digital- and
analog-broadcast signals during the digital-TV transition.

"I have said that I find that a difficult course to pursue because I am just
not convinced that it is an appropriate burden to place on the industry,"
Abernathy told a questioner at the Cable Television Public Affairs Association's
meeting at a downtown hotel here.

Abernathy, who serves in the agency's GOP majority, said the issue of cable
carriage of multiple digital-broadcast signals after the transition has not been
resolved.

Broadcasters are seeking cable carriage of the entire digital bitstream,
whether it is made up of one high-definition signal or multiple
standard-definition signals.

Cable operators and many programmers have argued that TV stations are
eligible for cable carriage of just one digital programming service

"That's the debate that is still ongoing," Abernathy said.

Abernathy devoted nearly all of her talk to an appeal for a greater
cable-industry effort on informing parents who want to police the TV-viewing
habits of their children. The industry, she added, also should do more to inform
parents about programming choices and the availability and capability of
blocking technologies.

"Unfortunately, many Americans don't know how to use the V-chip, are not
aware of its benefits and basically don't understand the ratings systems," she
said. "I don't want the government to make decisions about what programming
should be available -- I would rather empower parents to make their own personal
decisions."

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