|Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
|News media information 202 / 418-0500
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
FCC BEGINS REVIEWING CABLE OWNERSHIP LIMITS
Washington, D.C. - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today launched a proceeding to review its horizontal and vertical limits for cable companies. Today's action is in response to the Time Warner decision issued on March 2, 2001 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court determined that the FCC's prior limits had not been adequately supported and that the FCC had not sufficiently considered changes that have occurred in the multichannel video programming distribution (MVPD) market.
The 1992 Cable Act directed the FCC to establish limits on the number of subscribers a cable operator may serve and on the number of channels a cable operator may devote to affiliated programming. Although the FCC rules were reversed, the statute was upheld in a separate court decision. The FCC said today that it intends to implement rules that will foster competition and diversity in the video programming market in a way that is consistent with the court's ruling.
Today's Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) seeks to develop a complete record that will help the FCC produce and support appropriate horizontal and vertical limits. The FCC said it would examine the requirements of the law and review the relevant markets and their evolution since 1992. The FNPRM does not propose any specific numerical caps, but rather suggests several regulatory approaches and solicits empirical evidence and theoretical justification supporting or contradicting each of the suggested approaches. As directed by the Time Warner decision, the FNPRM also seeks comment on certain provisions of the FCC's attribution rules: specifically, the ban on an insulated limited partner's sale of video programming to a cable system partnership and the elimination of the single majority shareholder exemption in the cable and broadcast contexts.
Background Information on Cable Ownership Limits:
Action by the Commission September 13, 2001, by Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 01-263). Chairman Powell, Commissioners Abernathy, Copps and Martin with Commissioner Copps issuing a separate statement.
Comments due: 75 days after publication in the Federal Register
CS Docket Nos. 98-82, 96-85
MM Docket No. 92-264
Cable Services Bureau Contacts: Holly Berland, Andrew Wise at (202) 418-7200