Cable Requirements to Carry DTV Signals

[Editor’s Note:  Bob Primosch is a Partner with the communications law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, Washington, D.C. (rprimosch at wbklaw dot com):

I have heard that there may be some confusion over the FCC’s new viewability requirements for cable systems that carry DTV signals.  This has nothing to do with multicast must-carry, which remains an open issue.  Instead, cable systems that provide analog service must downconvert DTV must-carry signals to analog format at their own expense and deliver them to subscribers who do not have DTV sets.  This obligation is scheduled to sunset on February 19, 2012.  A group of programmers (including C-Span, A&E and The Weather Channel) has already appealed the new requirement on First Amendment grounds, claiming it amounts to a dual carriage requirement that may force them off their cable channels.

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