Paxson Sues Over Digital Must-Carry


Paxson Communications Corp. wants judicial review of a Federal Communications Commission order rejecting the broadcaster's plan for forced cable carriage of
multiple TV signals.

The FCC rejected the carriage plan twice, causing Paxson to sue Oct. 15 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the grounds
that the agency's decisions were 'arbitrary and capricious, erroneous and contrary to law.'

Paxson's plan -- which took shape in must-carry complaints filed against AT&T Broadband and 12 other cable operators in the Chicago area -- would
have required cable operators to carry six digital-programming streams.

One stream would have been the primary TV signal downconverted to analog for
viewing by all cable subscribers. The other five would have remained in digital
format accessible by cable subscribers with digital set-tops.

Rejecting Paxson's complaints, the FCC said that nothing in its rules
permitted a TV station transmitting both an analog and a digital signal to elect
mandatory carriage of digital content.

Paxson claimed that the proposal was consistent with current law because the
company was not asking for the dual carriage of its analog and digital signals,
just for carriage of its digital signal in different formats.

Paxson is the third-largest TV-station owner in the United States, with 69
stations reaching 67 percent of TV households. The company is 32.5 percent-owned
by General Electric Co.'s NBC.