FCC Scraps Form 325 Cable Data Reporting Requirement

As expected, the FCC has voted unanimously to eliminate an annual cable data reporting requirement, including on "network structure, system-wide capacity, programming, and number of subscribers."

The commission had voted unanimously to seek comment on the proposal back in November 2017. It had tentatively concluded that "marketplace, operational, and technological changes have overtaken the utility of Form 325 and rendered it increasingly obsolete, as reflected by the Commission’s extremely limited use of Form 325 data in recent years," and that the data could also he gleaned from other sources without burdening cable with the requirement.

It was just the latest in a serious of process "modernization of media regulation" reforms undertaken by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

The form 325 info had to be submitted by all cable systems with 20,000 or more subs and was required from a random sample of smaller systems.

"The record was unmistakably clear that the public benefits of Form 325's data collection no longer outweighed the significant burdens that the requirement imposes," said the American Cable Association. "Although cable operators expend considerable effort to provide the FCC the information collected by Form 325, the record shows that the value of this data to the FCC was fairly minimal and accessible to the FCC from alternative sources."

John Eggerton

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.