FCC to hold second August meeting


In a conference call earlier, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin hoped to address certain issues on circulation. Three apparently went unresolved, and will be addressed at an open meeting Friday 8/22/08. One of the remaining issues concerns cable must carry in the digital age. During an 8/4/08 confab with reporters, Martin said the issue on the table involves relief for small cable operators. It would provide a general waiver for systems with less than 2.5K subscribers and are not part of a major national MSO (those with less than 10% of total national subscribers); or for systems with less than 552 MHz channel capacity. They would still be required to pass through usable signals for all broadcast television channels in their area, but would not have to pass along high def programming for three years.

RBR/TVBR observation: An earlier off-campus en banc hearing had been called the August open meeting, which the FCC does occasionally to fulfill its requirement to get out in public once a month. This meeting follows the normal format of an FCC open meeting, and is being used to clear the agenda of items Martin thought to be relatively uncontroversial. It will be interesting to see what the hangup is on the small CATV system broadcast carriage issue.