Citing the volume of comments, the FCC will give interested parties
more time to weigh in on whether cable operators can move PEG channels
to analog, whether there should be more specific rules about the signal
quality of those channels relative to others, and how AT&T's
U-Verse service should be defined relative to PEG requirements.
The FCC Monday extended the reply comment period on a request for a
declaratory ruling on (PEG) public, educational and government channels
from March 24 until April 1.
The commission said that between Feb. 6, when it issued the call for
comment, to the March 9 deadline it had recieved more than 500
comments, some of them "quite complex." Originally, only the
petitioners were going to get to reply to those comments, but the FCC
has decided to open up replies to all comers, which it said
necessitated moving the deadling for replies.
As a result, it is also waiving the requirement that the petitioners serve their reply comments to all 500-plus commenters.
Many of those 500 comments were prompted by Free Press, which wants theFCC to require that all cable systems "must pass through closed
captioning and secondary audio programs when provided by PEG content
producers; must offer PEG content through the same interface and
service tier as other basic cable channels, with no extra obstacles;
and must deliver PEG content to the customer at the same video and
audio quality as other basic cable channels." .
Free Press also requested that the FCC define AT&T's U-verse
service as a cable service subject to PEG requirements. In a relatedpetition, four Michigan communities are asking the FCC to rule on whether
Comcast should have been able to move PEG channels to a digital tier
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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