Cable Faces Busy Week at FCC

Washington-The cable industry is facing a busy week at the Federal Communications Commission.

The agency is expected to launch a proceeding Thursday (Sept. 14) to determine which rules, if any, should apply to cable operators that also provide Internet access. Cable foes want rules requiring access for competing Internet-service providers.

The agency will also announce rules for the labeling of digital-TV sets. The labels are intended to minimize consumer confusion regarding the capabilities of their digital TVs when connected to digital-cable set-top boxes.

The FCC is moving ahead after the Consumer Electronics Association backed off from a labeling agreement reached with the National Cable Television Association in May.

In a related matter, the FCC is also expected to adopt rules designed to ensure that digital technology safeguards copyright owners from illegal copying of their TV shows and movies.

Lastly, the agency will launch a proceeding to determine whether it needs to alter the Jan. 1, 2005, deadline after which cable operators may no longer provide subscribers with new digital set-top boxes that integrate channel-surfing and signal-security features.