Russia to cable operators: carry broadcast TV or else

U.S. cable operators should consider themselves lucky compared to their Russian counterparts. The Russian State Duma (that's Parliament to you or me) has instituted a must-carry law that requires cable and satellite operators to broadcast eight "free-to-air" channels free of charge to both broadcasters and subscribers.

While there is the benefit that the operators don't have to pay for the channels, it's still a bit Cold War-like to have deputy telecommunications and mass communications minister Aleksandr Zharov saying that the law "obliges operators that provide communications services involving television and radio broadcasts ... to broadcast compulsory, universally available television channels and radio stations without charging subscribers and broadcasters."

Those that don't obey won't get licenses. The rules say nothing about the Gulag, but then again ...

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