ACA: No Harm in FCC Effective Competition Change

There is no statutory bar to assuming cable operators are subject to effective competition in their local franchise areas, doing so would not hurt broadcasters or PEG channels, and the FCC should at least reverse the presumption to small cable operators.

That is according to the American Cable Association's reply comments on the FCC's proposed rulemaking on effective competition. Under directions from Congress (in the STELAR legislation) to review the way it determines that cable operators should no longer be subject to basic-tier rate regulation, the FCC, citing the fact that it has granted virtually all such requests recently, suggested reversing the current presumption that they are not subject to that competition, which dates to before there were satellite operators with national reach and telco competitors.

"The factual record established in the NPRM and in the Comments clearly supports the Commission’s proposal to replace the old presumption that no cable system anywhere in the country faces effective competition with a rebuttable presumption in favor of effective competition," the ACA said.

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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.