NAB Pushes for Satellite Dual-Carriage

As expected, broadcasters lobbied the Federal Communications Commission about a dual-carriage regime for satellite TV and its delivery of local TV channels.

The FCC is taking comments on whether DBS services should be required to carry the signals of all local broadcast stations both in HD and standard definition if they carry the signals of any local station in the same market. In its comments on the issue, the National Association of Broadcasters said such dual-carriage rules would ensure the continued availability of over-the-air channels.

Also, a dual-carriage rule would prevent the local-into-local compulsory license from interfering with competition among TV stations in each local market, the association said.

"This careful balance would be upset if satellite subscribers without HD capable set-top boxes are unable to watch the programming of some stations in a market because the carrier discriminates in its carriage of digital signals," NAB said in its comments on the issue.

Also, the NAB pushed for satellite "viewability" rules to ensure that stations will be received in the analog sets of satellite TV subscribers.

Satellite TV interests are fighting the dual-carriage rules, citing capacity constraints and an earlier move by the FCC requiring DBS delivery of all local HD signals in markets where small dish services offer local high-def signals, among other factors.