Dish Network entering new carriage talks, rep tells congresswoman

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A representative of Dish Network told Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) yesterday that the satcaster is planning new talks with noncom TV stations on multicast or HD signal carriage, reports Broadcasting & Cable. Cable operators and DirecTV already have such deals. Eshoo introduced a bill that would force such carriage, citing public interest. Jeffrey Davis, spokesman for the Association of Public Television Stations, told Current in a statement that Dish Network, for the most part, is not carrying local public television stations in HD in any markets except Hawaii and Alaska, where carriage is federally mandated. The statement added: “It is our sincere hope that Dish and public television can reach a private agreement. However, in the absence of such an agreement and the unwillingness of Dish to engage in meaningful negotiations, we are encouraging Congress to step in to correct this market failure and ensure that Americans have full access to high quality programming created by local public television stations.” (See Current‘s Jan. 21, 2008, story for more on the issue.)