Washington -- Cablevision Systems Corp. president and CEO
James Dolan said last week that policymakers should refrain from handing broadcasters
digital channels on upgraded cable systems that they took no risk in developing.
Dolan, hosting a high-definition television telecast of the
New York Rangers-Washington Capitals National Hockey League game at National Cable
Television Association headquarters here, said Congress did not intend for cable to spend
millions of dollars on upgrades "so it can be gifted to others that didn't
participate in the risk."
By the end of the year, the Federal Communications
Commission is expected to decide whether cable operators are required to carry digital-TV
signals, as well as analog signals. The National Association of Broadcasters is urging the
adoption of mandatory carriage rules.
Dolan spoke to an audience that included Rep. Mike Oxley
(R-Ohio), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). FCC commissioner Susan
Ness stepped out before Dolan's remarks. However, some of Ness' staff heard him.
Cablevision aired Madison Square Garden Network's game feed
in 1080-interlaced format and displayed it on several monitors, as well as on the movie
screen in the NCTA's theater.
Dolan said Cablevision will use its bandwidth for
video-on-demand product and supply customers with "virtually unlimited digital