Comcast: Multicasting Not a Market Reality


Multicasting by digital-TV stations -- that is, several programming streams,
and not just one high-definition-TV signal -- is a hot regulatory issue in
Washington, D.C., but not a marketplace reality, according to Comcast Corp.
programming vice president Alan Dannenbaum.

Dannenbaum briefed Federal Communications Commission officials last week on
digital-TV-transition issues, including multicasting. Despite cable-industry
opposition, the FCC is considering a rule that would require cable carriage of
multiple digital-TV programming services.

'While some broadcasters are reportedly contemplating multicasting, none that
Comcast has encountered are currently doing so, and none has articulated to
Comcast any particular plans for the programming that they would wish to have
carried,' Dannenbaum told the agency.

Comcast, along with the other major cable operators, is planning to carry
broadcast HDTV channels, but the market is looking choppy at the moment.

Dannenbaum told the FCC, 'Some major-market broadcasters are still not yet
transmitting digital signals, others have declined to consent to carriage of
their signals except in exchange for additional consideration and still others
are just not sufficiently interested in the digital transition to pursue
discussions regarding carriage on cable systems.'