From our friends at SkyReport.com
The National Association of Broadcasters told the Federal Communications Commission that capacity constraints satellite TV interests say they may encounter with the delivery of local signals in HDTV should be taken with "several pounds of salt."
Earlier in September, satellite TV interests, led by the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association, asked the FCC to take into consideration capacity constraints for satellite TV platforms if the commission looks into carriage of high-def broadcast signals. The NAB, in reply comments on the status of competition in the multichannel marketplace, told the FCC that the limited capacity claims are an excuse to avoid the imposition of additional carriage requirements.
"There is no real issue as to whether or either EchoStar or DirecTV has, in absolute terms, the capacity to provide dual carriage or carriage of stations' HD signals," the NAB told the commission. "Clearly each carrier has such capacity. Rather the issue is the extent to which such capacity as these carriers have should be dedicated to over the air broadcasters' digital transition."
Early this month, SBCA said if the "carry-one, carry-all" rule for local TV via satellite was extended to HD signals, "due to the tremendous capacity burden of HD signals, DBS providers may be limited to offering local-into-local service to just one market, nullifying the intent of Congress when it enacted SHVIA, not to mention eliminating the competitive parity only now being reached between cable and DBS."
The NAB comments come as satellite TV and broadcasters prepare for the 2004 renewal of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act. Some suggest broadcaster demands for more HD carriage could become part of the SHVIA debate next year.