Skip to main content

Leased-Access Rules Called Into Question

(Image credit: FCC)

The FCC in June 2019 signaled it was leaning toward eliminating the leased access rules as an infringement on cable operators’ First Amendment rights to choose the programming on their platforms. That came in this language from its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

The First Amendment. “The changes in the video marketplace … call into question whether our leased access rules are consistent with the First Amendment. Specifically, while the leased access rules were originally justified as safeguarding competition and diversity in the face of cable operators’ monopoly power, the growth in available platforms to distribute programming seems to have eroded this justification.

“We agree that dramatic changes in technology and the marketplace for the distribution of programming cast substantial doubt on the constitutional foundation for our leased access rules. We recognize that we rejected similar constitutional arguments in the 2008 Leased Access Order, which we vacate today. Our analysis has changed because the facts have changed.”

John Eggerton
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.