The Federal Communications Commission voted 4-1 on Feb. 10 to reject broadcasters' attempts to require cable operators to carry their entire digital TV offering, whether it is a single HDTV program or
WASHINGTON (The Hollywood Reporter) -- The Federal Communications Commission voted 4-1 on Feb. 10 to reject broadcasters' attempts to require cable operators to carry their entire digital TV offering, whether it is a single HDTV program or several standard-definition programs.
By rejecting the request, the commission upheld its 2001 decision that cable operators are obligated to carry only a broadcaster's "primary video channel" -- the digital offering that most resembles their current product.
Since then, broadcasters have sought to get the commission to change its mind. But that attempt fell on deaf ears as two commissioners cited the industry's stubborn refusal to accept specific public-interest requirements in the digital age.
Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said he decided to support the decision after broadcasters refused to accept specific public-interest requirements in exchange for a regulation that would require cable operators to carry multiple digital streams.
"When I call upon the industry to do more and they don't, there are consequences," he said. "And we are seeing one of those consequences here today."
Cable industry officials said the ruling upholds cable operators' free speech rights to determine the mix of programming that will serve their diverse customer base.
Although broadcasters were handed a defeat, they vowed to continue the fight.