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On January 18, 2001, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules resolving a number of technical and legal matters related to the cable carriage of digital broadcast signals. In its Report and Order, the FCC clarifies that a digital-only television station, commercial or non-commercial, can immediately assert its right to carriage on a cable system. The FCC also said that a TV station that returns its analog spectrum and converts to digital operations must be carried by cable systems. This action is one of a series of steps to facilitate the transition from analog to digital television broadcasting. This transition will ultimately expand consumer choice of video programming and other services. The transition from analog to digital will allow for more efficient use of the spectrum that will permit new communications and video services in parts of the spectrum returned to the FCC for auction to new competitive providers.

Retransmission Consent

Channel Capacity Signal Quality Content of Signals Subject to Mandatory Carriage Substantial Duplication Material Degradation Set-Top Box Availability Channel Location Market Modifications Digital Signal Carriage on PEG Channels Complaints and Enforcement Subscriber Notification Program Exclusivity Tiers and Rates
  • The Report and Order finds that digital television signals must be available to subscribers on a basic service tier. The Further Notice seeks comment on voluntary carriage of digital signals on a tier other than the basic tier.

  • The Report and Order finds that there may be some cable systems undertaking significant system upgrades, a part of which will include a digital build-out. For these systems, the Report and Order finds that a Form 1235 upgrade rate adjustment would provide an appropriate incentive for a cable operator to upgrade its system and carry digital television signals. Found below is a summary of the matters raised for comment in the FNPRM.