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FCC Delays Start of Meeting

Washington – The Federal Communications Commission pushed back the start of today’s public meeting until 11 a.m., a 90-minute delay. Postponements under FCC chairman Kevin Martin have been frequent, with meetings beginning many hours after the scheduled 9:30 a.m. start time. On Sept. 11, the FCC's meeting did not begin until 8 p.m.

At today’s meeting, Martin wants his five-member agency to:

* Force cable operators to charge no more than 10 cents per month, per subscriber to leased access programmers, a 75% reduction from current FCC-set rates.

* Potentially force Comcast and Time Warner, as a result of compulsory arbitration, to carry the Hallmark Channel and the NFL Network and pay the networks handsome license fees.

* Find that cable penetration exceeds 70% of households, triggering a legal provision enacted in 1984 that gives the FCC potentially massive new regulatory powers over cable operators and cable programmers.

* Launch a notice en route to rules that would allow minority, religious and small business entities to lease spectrum from digital TV stations and demand carriage from local cable operators.