Some Cable Fines Deferred at the FCC

The Federal Communications Commission, under acting chairman Michael Copps, has provided some aid and comfort to cable operators after the parting shot fired by chairman Kevin Martin as he was heading out the door Jan. 19.

Martin closed out his chairmanship of the FCC with hundreds of thousands of dollars in proposed fines against cable operators for failing to provide sufficient information to the commission in its investigation of the migration of channels from analog to digital, changing rates without sufficient notice, and more.

Hit with the fines were a who’s who of operators, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Comcast, Bright House Networks and Harron Communications.

Martin had given the MSOs 30 days to pay or appeal the fines.

The FCC, without comment, Tuesday extended that deadline to March 20 and suspended or set aside a couple of reporting deadlines related to the complaints. An FCC spokesman said the commission wanted to review the proposed fines.

The initial investigations were in response to complaints from Consumers Union and others that MSOs were migrating channels from analog to digital without lowering the price of the analog tier and in some cases raising it.

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.