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FCC Seeks Input on Presuming Cable Video Has Effective Competition

The FCC has voted 5-0 to seek input on whether it should make de jure what appears to be the case de facto: That cable operators are subject to effective competition, at least as defined by the 1992 Cable Act and when it comes to basic rate regulation of traditional video service.

Since the Act provisions were adopted in 1993, cable operators were presumed not to be subject to effective competition and so basic cable rates could be regulated by the local franchising authority unless an operator could prove there was a second competitor. The FCC now wants to know whether given changes in the marketplace it ought to now presume a cable operator is subject to effective competition — the FCC is talking about traditional video, not broadband — which it would be incumbent on a franchising authority to prove was not the case.

The commissioners Monday approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that does not come right out and say the commision believes the presumption should be reversed, but sure suggests it.

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