Digital Carriage Items for Satellite on FCC Agenda

At its meeting next week, the Federal Communications Commission will consider issues concerning carriage of digital broadcast television signals by satellite carriers.

The move was announced in the agenda released by the FCC late Wednesday night.

It's expected that the commission will consider rules for carriage of HD locals by satellite TV providers. While there aren't any specifics, the talk has been that a carry-one, carry-all mandate will apply to DBS platforms requiring delivery of all high-def locals in the markets served by small dish services.

In recent weeks, both DISH Network and DIRECTV have approached FCC staff with a proposal that would allow for a phased-in approach to carrying HD locals.

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.