The FCC is set to take up an order Tues (9/11) that could force dual carriage on cable operators. Cable is hoping that its voluntary proposal to offer must-carry broadcast signals for 3 years (or some other set period) will trump FCC chmn Kevin Martin‘s original proposal to force ops to carry analog and digital signals until a system is all-digital. Programmers are also getting in on the act. Africa Channel, Inspiration Nets, Outdoor Channel, Ovation TV and TV One wrote to the commission on Fri, saying that “much like the way a la carte regulations would reduce the diversity of voices on cable, dual must carry requirements could be equally damning for cable networks by crowding them out to make room for two and three copies of the same broadcast stations.” Also on Tues’ agenda is an order to extend program access rules for 5 years (Cfax, 8/24). The meeting is still slated to start at 9:30am. 2 items have been pulled, including an order extending streamlined franchising rules to cable, so maybe that’ll help it start on time.

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