US TV Watchdog to Rule on Digital Dispute

24 January 2005

US broadcast regulator the Federal Communications Commission is preparing to deliver its verdict in a battle of wills between broadcasters and cable companies over digital TV channels.

The National Association of Broadcasters, led by ceo Edward Fritts, is adamant that cable stations must carry more than one digital TV channel.

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association is sticking to its guns and defending its position, reinforced by the FCC in 2001, that cable operators are obliged to carry only one digital video signal.

Says Fritts: "It is vitally important for cable systems to carry all signals offered by local TV stations. NAB will continue to strongly advocate this position."

While NCTA spokesman Brian Dietz contends: "Cable operators and programmers alike will continue to urge the commission to reaffirm its previous rulings."

The FCC could be ready with its judgement next month, though rumors are that it will not be to the NCTA's liking.

Data sourced from Adweek (USA); additional content by WARC staff