NCTA: No Analog for Digital-Only

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Digital-only TV stations should not have the right to demand analog carriage
on cable systems, the National Cable Television Association said in Wednesday
comments marking a new round in federal management of the digital-TV
transition.

In January, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that digital-only TV
stations could demand analog carriage for a few years. The impact of the
decision was not broad because the number of digital-only stations is only
expected to be in the few-dozen, according to the FCC.

Nevertheless, the NCTA said that if digital-TV stations without paired analog
signals are entitled to analog cable carriage, operators would be forced to give
the stations preferred status, perhaps causing them to drop analog-cable
programmers or to deny carriage due to channel congestion.

'New digital-only TV stations have no analog spectrum to return. Granting
them a preferred berth on a cable system imposes an additional burden on cable
systems, plain and simple,' the trade group added.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Broadcasters urged the FCC to reverse
its decision to deny TV stations mandatory cable carriage for both their analog
and digital signals during the transition.

The NAB said the FCC's decision was contrary to law and ruinous to an
expedited transition to digital TV. The association also called on the agency to
require cable operators to carry multiple digital-TV signals distributed by
local TV stations.

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