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NCTA Wants MDU Rule Stayed

As expected, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association went to federal court on Jan. 23 in an effort to block the Federal Communications Commission from voiding all exclusive cable contracts with apartment building landlords.

NCTA sought a stay in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on one key issue: the FCC’s decision to apply the ban to existing contracts, not just to future deals, between cable operators and the owners of multiple dwelling units (MDUs.).

“The record in the FCC’s proceeding shows that, in reliance on those contracts and on the FCC’s prior decision not to regulate them, cable operators have made substantial investments that they will not be able to recoup if the exclusivity provisions of existing contracts are abrogated,” NCTA said in the court filing.

Under FCC chairman Kevin Martin, the FCC last October reversed its 2003 decision not to interfere with cable’s exclusive contracts in the apartment building market.

In its stay request, NCTA noted that the FCC’s MDU contract ban excluded cable’s chief rivals, satellite-TV providers DirecTV and Dish Network.