Broadcasters Keep Pushing on DBS High-Def Locals

Broadcasters kept up their efforts targeting delivery of local high-def signals by DBS platforms during meetings at the Federal Communications Commission this week.

During those gatherings, representatives with the National Association of Broadcasters approached FCC staff about proposals to require DBS services to carry all local broadcast HD signals in the markets they serve with local high def channels. At the meetings, the lobbying group pushed its request that small dish services carry local TV stations for all 210 DMAs, including local stations' high-def signals.

Such a mandate "would allow even those unable to receive regular over-the-air signals to receive important local news and emergency information from local stations," NAB said in a filing detailing its FCC meetings.

Also, the NAB said the commission should require satellite TV services to provide evidence to support their claims that they currently lack sufficient capacity to carry a larger number of local TV signals.

The FCC is scrutinizing a proposed rule that would require DBS services to carry all local HD feeds in the markets they choose to deliver local broadcast feeds in high-def. The matter could surface at the FCC's March 19 meeting.

DIRECTV and DISH Network have offered suggestions on the must-carry proposal. Specifically, the companies proposed that for any carry-one, carry-all local HD rule, a phase-in process could cover 15 percent of markets served by a DBS service a year after the digital TV transition in February 2009. That would increase to 30 percent two years after the switch, 60 percent three years after the transition, and then all HD markets served by a DBS platform four years after the DTV change