WASHINGTON, DC – - FCC Chairman Kevin Martin today outlined the benefits of digital TV before the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Conference in Washington. During his remarks, Chairman Martin stressed the importance of preventing cable companies from stripping out diverse broadcast programming made available through digital broadcast technology.
"[W]ith the digital spectrum, technology enables broadcasters to put out not just one programming stream, but several," said Martin, according to prepared remarks available on the FCC's Web site. "So, Spanish language broadcasters could broadcast two or three channels of Spanish programming with no additional cost or spectrum."
"Simply put, Spanish language broadcasters could provide more free television programming to the Spanish speaking community," he continued. "The only way we can make this a reality, however, is if the cable companies are required to carry these additional channels. And as is the case today, cable operators should be required to carry this free programming."
Commenting on Chairman Martin's remarks today, NAB Executive Vice President of Media Relations Dennis Wharton released the following statement:
"NAB salutes Chairman Martin's eloquent and steadfast support for providing consumer access to a diverse array of digital broadcast programming. For their own financial reasons, Comcast and other cable gatekeepers have every incentive to deny viewers access to the multiplicity of foreign language and other niche local broadcast programming that could flow from the DTV transition.
"We're hopeful that Chairman Martin's colleagues will join him in embracing DTV's full potential, and not allow a cartel of cable companies to dictate the terms of consumer access to compelling digital broadcast programming."
The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. Information about NAB can be found at www.nab.org.