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LFAs Face FCC Deadline for Defending Basic Rate Regs

Today (Dec. 8) is the deadline for local franchising authorities (LFAs) to file their (form 328) rebuttals to the FCC's new presumption that cable operators are subject to effective competition.

If they don't file those defenses of their ability to regulate basic cable rates, their certification to do so lapses.

But it is not a "speak now or forever hold your peace" deadline. LFA's are free to file the form  at any future time if they want to attempt to reinstate their right to regulate rates.

The FCC back in June to presume cable operators face competition for traditional video in their local markets unless a franchise authority or other party can demonstrate otherwise. (http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/washington/fcc-presumes-cable-face...).

The decision reduces paperwork for cable ops, but as a practical matter does not change the landscape dramatically since the FCC has granted virtually all such requests, thanks largely to the presence of DBS competition.

The presumption dates from the 1992 Cable Act, which dates from a time when cable ops had a 95% MVPD market share, which is now a tad over 50%, something the National Cable & Telecommunications Association pointed out in pushing for the change.

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.