Public broadcasters officially unveiled their 4 new multicast channels yesterday at a DC press event. Viva TV, World, Create and PBS KIDS Go! look a lot like cable nets already in existence, meeting the needs of overlooked demos and niche markets. Create, which launched last year on WGBH-DTV/Comcast (Boston) and WLIW-DTV/Cablevision (New York), can be a clone of HGTV or DIY. A national version of the net is slated to launch in Jan. Meanwhile Viva TV (similar to Si TV and Mun Dos) will launch in mid ’06 with Spanish programming. PBS Kids Go (think: Noggin) launched last year online and as a program block on PBS stations and is scheduled to launch as a 24-hour net in the fall of ’06. It is aimed at early elementary kids, filling a gap between preschool and tweens. World (another news net!) already is up-and-running in NY and Boston. Only a handful of PBS stations have the capacity to broadcast 4 multicast streams today. PBS HD: As of Oct 1, PBS member stations that license yet another multicast service, PBS HD, will be able to distribute the channel to their local cable operators without having to provide a simultaneous broadcast. PBS HD allows local cable ops to provide a service not available via satellite.

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Early Signs Positive for Emergency Broadband Benefit Uptake

The FCC’s $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program kicked off with a bang Wednesday, and some 825 providers sat ready to answer consumer questions and get folks signed up for subsidies. Thus far, all has gone to plan and consumer interest is coming in either consistent with or in excess of providers’ early predictions.

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