Hoping to avoid tiering, safe harbors and related meddling from DC, NCTA chief Robert Sachs unveiled another option to give parents control of cable programming Tues, telling CTPAA’s Forum that the Top 10 MSOs and other cable ops will provide blocking devices to subs free of charge, despite "the real costs" of doing so. It’s impossible to calculate the costs "until we see how many subscribers" request the equipment, he says. A tad less than 50% of the cable universe is unable to block programming, Sachs says. Roughly 30% of cable HHs contain digital boxes (with filtering capability); another 20% of cable HHs already possess blocking equipment, such as V-chips, he says. Afterward, Sachs indicates the measure should "go a long way" toward heading off calls for family friendly tiers, a la carte pricing and rebates for unused channels. — Sachs also unveiled a Web site (controlyourtv.org) created by Cable in the Classroom to explain to consumers the 3 elements of "responsible TV viewing:" choice, control and consumer education. The site explains the V-chip, parental controls and the rating system. It also links to MSO sites, media literacy and educational resources and contains a list of "family friendly" programmers.

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Non-ETC providers that want to participate in the FCC’s $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program will be able to begin applying March 8.

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