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Noncoms, Smaller Cable Systems Strike DTV Deal

Public TV and the American Cable Association, which represents small and midsized cable operators, struck a wide-ranging digital-TV-carriage deal.

The 10-year deal means HDTV and DTV carriage of public stations' primary signals and digital-multicast channels by the ACA’s more than 1,000 members serving 8 million subscribers, with the primary signals carried in the lowest-priced tier.

PBS, the Association of Public Television Stations and the ACA expect to close the deal by October. Noncoms reached a similar deal two years ago with the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

Democratic Federal Communications Commission member Jonathan Adelstein, who helped to prompt the NCTA agreement, praised the ACA agreement as a "historic" one and a "win-win for cable operators, public broadcasters and, most importantly, the viewing public."

Commercial broadcasters are still looking for some help from the FCC to make sure that cable operators carry their digital-multicast signals.