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Policy

Cable's View: Viewability Mandate Must Go

3/19/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

WASHINGTON — Cable operators appear to have an
uphill battle to convince the Federal Communications
Commission to allow its requirements that
cable operators deliver analog and digital versions
of must-carry TV stations — as well as HD versions
where stations deliver HDTV signals over the air —
to sunset.

The FCC has until June 12 to act or the threeyear
mandate will elapse on June 12, three years
after the transition to digital broadcasting that
mandate was meant to ease. In a proposed
Notice of Further Rulemaking issued last month,
the FCC said the available evidence appeared to
indicate that the requirements “remain important
to consumers.”

Cable operators countered that the mandate was
no longer needed, using data to buttress its case
that analog TV signals were taking up increasing
scarce capacity given the rise in networks broadcasting
in HD, the demands on broadband bandwith
and the likely rise in the number of households that
don’t need downconverted signals.

September