A public-television group Friday sought the aid of Federal Communications
Commission chairman Michael Powell in the wake of the cable industry's latest
rejection of a public-TV/digital-TV-transition plan.
"Cable's stonewall response to the proposal, released this week, offers proof
positive as to why it is time to stop holding our breath waiting for cable to do
its part to advance the nation's digital-television transition," Association of
Public Television Stations president and CEO John Lawson said in a prepared
On Thursday, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association sent
Powell a letter critical of the APTS' plan that would, among other things,
require cable carriage of all analog- and digital-TV signals, provided those
channels did not occupy more than 28 percent of a cable system's capacity.
Given the NCTA's rejection, Lawson said, public-TV stations had to seek
action from the FCC.
"Public-television stations are in the business of serving the public, not
making money, so they have little leverage over cable gatekeepers," Lawson
"Once again, we must appeal to chairman Powell to find a way to say 'yes' to
advancing the transition and allowing cable homes to benefit from the community
connection and services provided by public television," he added.
"Apparently, Mr. Lawson did not read the NCTA's letter to chairman Powell, in
which we clearly stated that public television will be an important part of the
mix of digital programming on cable systems, and that cable operators already
are carrying the digital signals of many PTV stations and negotiating to carry
others," NCTA spokesman Rob Stoddard responded.