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Senator Snowe Backs Martin on Must-Carry

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin got some support for his multicast must-carry proposal from at least one Republican member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Olympia Snowe of Maine, who is on the record supporting multicast must-carry, is now in Martin's in-box supporting it as well.

She wrote the chairman a letter Monday, June 5, to say she strongly supports requiring cable to carry all of a broadcasters' multicast, must-carry channels, not just a single replication of their primary signal, as the FCC has previously concluded.

Martin has submitted a proposal reversing the commission's position and granting the carriage.

Citing the importance of must-carry to the digital transition, Snowe argues that "carriage of a broadcaster’s digital channels will serve the public's interest in local communities across the nation."

Elsewhere in the Senate Commerce Committee, Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), said Wednesday following an address to cable executives pleased with his version of a video franchise reform bill, that he thought Congress, rather than the FCC, should make the call on multicast must-carry.

Cable opposed multicast must-carry as a taking of its property, government intrusion in its speech, and a spectrum grab that leaves less room for advanced services its customers would prefer.