Cable Concerned About Spectrum Plan

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Washington -- The cable industry is raising concerns about a Federal
Communications Commission proposal designed to promote more efficient management
of satellite spectrum used to beam cable networks to headends.

In comments on the proposal filed Jan. 8, the National Cable Television
Association said the FCC's effort would complicate life for operators and
programmers, particularly for programmers that need to find working transponders
for sports, spot news and pay-per-view events.

'While the proposed rules are meant to promote more efficient use of the
spectrum by making more `unused' spectrum available for [fixed-service]
licensees, they are likely to have just the opposite effect,' the association
said.

The NCTA added that cable operators and programmers need flexible use of the
spectrum because they are never sure when the orientation of an earth station
needs to be changed to connect with a new satellite transponder.

'Denying them the flexibility to use certain transponders on certain
satellites without interference just because they have not recently used such
satellites would disrupt and diminish the ability of cable operators and
programmers to provide the nation's 70 million cable households with the
seamless, interference-free array of programming they rely upon and enjoy,' the
trade group said.

According to the NCTA's comments, the FCC is trying to promote spectrum
efficiency by requiring cable operators and programmers to accept some levels of
interference in the spectrum band used for two-way earth-station transmissions
-- apparently at the expense of a long-standing policy of protecting the
industry from such interference.

'The result would be the piecemeal disruption and erosion of . the ability of
operators and programmers to continue to ensure uninterrupted, interference-free
provision of their programming to cable subscribers,' the association
said.

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