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06-20-2006 11:39 PM #1Stand against retrans!!!
DeMint: Shield DBS from Multicast Must-Carry
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is sponsoring a proposal designed to ensure that a pending Senate telecommunications bill would not require satellite-TV providers to carry more than one digital programming service provided by a local TV station.
DeMint is hoping to offer his amendment Thursday when the Senate Commerce Committee meets to vote on a sweeping telecommunications bill (S. 2686) sponsored by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).
Under the Stevens bill, direct-broadcast satellite carriers would be required to carry the “video signal” of TV stations eligible for mandatory carriage. DeMint is concerned that the Federal Communications Commission could construe the phrase “video signal” as a mandate to require DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp. to carry multiple programming services of an individual TV station.
With digital technology, TV stations can slice their spectrum to offer six or more programming services, also called multicasting. Analog technology limited stations to one programming service. The National Association of Broadcasters has been lobbying Congress and the FCC to impose multicast must-carry on cable operators.
In his amendment, DeMint wants to substitute “video signal” with the words “primary video.” The FCC, in connection with cable carriage of digital-TV signals, has twice determined that “primary video” means carriage of one programming service per TV station.
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