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Activists Call For DTV Obligations Before Dual Carriage

Media activist groups The Campaign Legal Center and Common Cause sent a letter to the FCC commissioners Monday asking them not to expand TV station's carriage rights until they have resolved the issue of TV stations' DTV public interest obligations.

“The FCC's inaction on public interest obligations remains a gaping hole in the fabric of our nation's telecommunications policy," they argued. With at least two of the commissioners, Democrats Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps--they were preaching to the choir. They have both pushed for a resolution of a 1999 inquiry into DTV public interest obligations.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has countered that the FCC has already addressed a number of those issues .

At its April 25 monthly meeting, the commission is scheduled to consider a proposal by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin that cable operators be required to deliver both an analog and digital version of TV station's signals after the conversion to all-digital broadcast TV as a means of insuring viewers get a "viewable signal," as required by law.

Cable operators have said they will provide a signal to their customers, analog or digital, but don't want the government mandating it .