The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, April 22, 2004

FCC facing multi-front war with broadcasters, apparently

Kibitzers must naturally be wary of taking appearances at face value. Examples abound of situations where it stands to reason that crisis is round the corner, but the signs are misleading. Thus, the extraordinary budget deficits of Belgium and Italy during the 1990s, and the Turkish rate of inflation. Or the revolving door governments of post-war Italy.

But the FCC does seem to have its hands full right now. And not only with the issues of censorship and media concentration, already discussed here at some length.

At the NAB convention, President Edward Fritts raised the question of cable carrying digital broadcasts. The must carry requirements on cable to carry broadcast output have a thirty year history; the available of capacity-sapping high-definition digital TV exacerbates the problem. The cable companies down-convert or down-rez the signal, and the broadcasters want the FCC to stop them.

And Chairman Powell was threatening the industry that Congress might confiscate its analog bandwidth to raise cash, and urging the FCC's own proposal.

(The practical problem identified in the UK is the fact that most households will have more than one TV (many will have several), and viewers will be reluctant to junk large numbers of perfectly serviceable sets to permit a bandwidth bonanza for the government.)

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