Hill Hails Cable, Noncom Carriage Pact

Bipartisan leaders of the House Energy & Commerce Committee Wednesday praised cable operators for renewing their agreement to carry public TV station multicast channels.

“By reaching this agreement, cable companies are putting the needs of their consumers first as they provide public television programming to millions of American homes," they said in a statement.

The new deal was announced earlier this week at a public TV summit in Washington.

The agreement, a renewal of their 2005 pact, means that noncommercial TV stations' digital must-carry channels will continue to be carried by systems serving a majority of cable subs.

Cable operators' must-carry obligations don't extend to multicast channels, which is why noncoms had to negotiate carriage on those cable systems rather than simply electing carriage, as they can with the noncoms' primary signals.

“Public television provides unique programming for children and communities across the country. In an evolving marketplace, it is important that families continue to have access to these stations, and this agreement ensures just that,” said the legislators.

Joining in that statement were House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), ranking member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore), and subcommittee ranking member Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.).

John Eggerton

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.