WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission
has denied broadcasters’ request for a stay of
the its viewability/dual-carriage decision which mandates,
starting in December, that hybrid analog/digital
cable systems don’t have to deliver must-carry TV stations
in both formats.
That denial, though, could provide the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the D.C. Circuit with a chance to step in.
The FCC in June voted unanimously to lift the
dual-carriage requirement; broadcasters had been
lobbying the agency to extend that mandate for three
more years. Cable operators said it was time to lift it and
provide their systems with the capacity to offer other
services consumers might want.
Both sides were doing hefty lobbying in the run-up to
the vote, but cable’s arguments held sway in the final order.
On Aug. 1, the National Association of Broadcasters
sought a stay of the order until the D.C. Circuit could
hear its appeal of the decision. The National Cable &
Telecommunications Association opposed the stay.
The NAB still has hope. Last month, Comcast had
sought a stay in the FCC’s ruling in its program-access
dispute with Tennis Channel until the D.C. appeals
court could hear its challenge. The stay was
denied by the FCC, but the appeals court last week
delayed enforcement until it could hear the MSO’s
The NAB has requested a stay from that same court.