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NAB Opposes Part of FCC Cable Channel Lineup Dereg

Broadcasters have asked the FCC to require cable operators to continue to have to post their channel lineups in their FCC public inspection files, an obligation cable operators would be happy to see go away but broadcasters signal is needed to help them keep tabs on proper carriage.

That came in comments to the FCC from the National Association of Broadcasters on its proposal to eliminate rules requiring cable ops to retain channel lineup copies at their physical office as well as in the inspection file.

NAB says it is fine with scrapping the copy at cable offices, but not the online version.

"[T]he public, broadcasters and regulators need a reliable source of information on cable operators’ channel lineups—a need that will not be adequately met by third-party sources or information that cable operators may elect to provide on their Web sites."

NAB says that there is already plenty of flexibility in the FCC rule, which allows cable ops to post either on the public file or to another Web site.

NAB says the requirement helps broadcasters determine whether they are being carried pursuant to must carry or retrans deals, or perhaps improperly carried without one, as well as whether a station is being carried on the correct channel.

NCTA has argued that the public file requirement is no longer needed because the information is readily available on Channel lineups now are available in numerous places, including on “the websites of the operator, on-screen electronic program guides, [and] paper guides."

NAB countered that none of those sources "(1) is easily accessible to the public, broadcasters, and regulators; (2) is required to be available, accurate, and up-to-date; and (3) ensures that the cable operator responsible for the lineup can be held accountable for the information provided."