Sachs: Powell Scheme Isn't for Dual Carriage


National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Robert Sachs took issue last week with a new dual must-carry pitch from National Association of Broadcasters president Edward Fritts.

In a letter to Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell penned that same day, Sachs said the cable industry last month embraced Powell's digital-TV transition plan. That scheme called on advanced cable systems to carry up to five channels from cable and broadcast suppliers that offer value-added digital programming — mostly likely high-definition TV.

"The Powell Plan did not call for redundant carriage of every broadcaster's analog and digital signals," said Sachs. "Cable operators remain committed to carrying every broadcaster's primary digital signal as soon as broadcasters return their analog spectrum to the federal government."

Sachs was responding to a suggestion Fritts had made to Powell. The NAB chairman said the goals of the FCC chairman's DTV transition plan would not be met "since the cable industry has not committed to carrying all local DTV signals or all the content on those signals."