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NCTA Joins Comcast in Challenging FCC Cable Cap

And the legal hits against the Federal Communications Commission just keep on coming.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association Wednesday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to let it join in Comcast's challenge to the FCC's decision to re-establish the cable horizontal-ownership limits.

The FCC -- actually chairman Kevin Martin and a pair of Democrats -- last fall voted to restore the 30% national cap on the number of multichannel-video subscribers a cable operator can reach, saying that it wanted to make sure no cable operator or group of operators could "impede the flow of programming to its consumers" because of its size.

Republican FCC commissioners Robert McDowell and Deborah Taylor Tate dissented, with McDowell saying that the cap was unecessary, unjustified and would be thrown out by the court.

Comcast, the nation's largest operator and closest to the cap at about 27% of subscribers, filed suit against the decision March 12.

The NCTA told the court in a "motion to intervene" that it wants to join Comcast in the challenge.

"The NCTA actively participated in the commission’s proceeding giving rise to the report and order for which review is sought," the cable association said. "The NCTA’s members are aggrieved by the ruling therein. The NCTA was a party in interest in the proceeding before the agency, and its interest and those of its member companies will be affected by the outcome of this case. Therefore, the NCTA is entitled to appear and participate as of right in this proceeding."

The FCC has been the object of dozens of suits against a host of decisions, including a couple of media-ownership-rule votes, its changes to leased-access rules and more.