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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of ) File No. EB-02-TC-106
Marcus Cable Associates, LP ) CUID No. TX0397 (Borger)
Complaint Regarding ) )
Cable Programming Services Tier )
Adopted: June 14, 2002 Released: June
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:1
1. In this Order we consider complaints filed against the
rates charged by the above-referenced operator ("Operator")2 for
its cable programming services tier ("CPST") in the community
referenced above. The Cable Services Bureau has already issued an
Order, DA 95-303 ("Prior Order"),3 which resolved complaints
filed against Operator's CPST rates in effect through May 14,
1994. In its Prior Order, the Cable Services Bureau stated that
its findings "do not in any way prejudge the reasonableness of
the price for CPS service after May 14, 1994 under our new rate
regulations."4 Upon review of Operator's refund plan filed in
response to the Prior Order, the Cable Services Bureau calculated
Operator's refund liability through July 14, 1994.5 In this
Order, we address only the reasonableness of Operator's CPST
rates for the above-referenced community, for the period
beginning July 15, 1994.
2. Under the provisions of the Communications Act6 that
were in effect at the time the referenced complaints were filed,
the Federal Communications Commission ("Commission") is
authorized to review the CPST rates of cable systems not subject
to effective competition to ensure that rates charged are not
unreasonable. The Cable Television Consumer Protection and
Competition Act of 19927 ("1992 Cable Act") required the
Commission to review CPST rates upon the filing of a valid
complaint by a subscriber or local franchising authority ("LFA").
The filing of a complete and timely complaint triggers an
obligation upon the cable operator to file a justification of its
CPST rates.8 The Operator has the burden of demonstrating that
the CPST rates complained about are reasonable.9 If the
Commission finds a rate to be unreasonable, it shall determine
the correct rate and any refund liability.10
3. Operators must use the FCC Form 1200 series to justify
rates for the period beginning May 15, 1994.11 Cable operators
may file an FCC Form 1210 to justify quarterly rate increases
based on the addition and deletion of channels, changes in
certain external costs and inflation.12 Operators may justify
their rates on an annual basis using FCC Form 1240 to reflect
reasonably certain and quantifiable changes in external costs,
inflation, and the number of regulated channels that are
projected for the twelve months following the rate change.13 Any
incurred cost that is not projected may be accrued with interest
and added to rates at a later time.14
4. Upon review of Operator's FCC Form 1200, we accept
Operator's calculated MPR of $11.71. Because Operator's actual
CPST rate of $12.76, effective July 15, 1994 through March 31,
1995, exceeds its calculated MPR of $11.71, we find Operator's
actual CPST rate of $12.76 to be unreasonable, effective July 15,
1994 through March 31, 1995. Upon review of Operator's FCC Form
1210, covering the period April 1, 1994 through March 31, 1995,
we find Operator's actual CPST rate of $12.76 to be reasonable,
effective April 1, 1995.
5. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 0.111
and 0.311 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111 and
0.311, that the CPST rate of $12.76, charged by Operator in the
community referenced above, effective July 15, 1994 through March
31, 1995, IS UNREASONABLE.
6. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 0.111 and
0.311 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111 and 0.311,
that the CPST rate of $12.76, charged by Operator in the
community referenced above, effective April 1, 1995, IS
7. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to Section 76.961 of
the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. § 76.961, that Operator shall
refund to subscribers in the community referenced above that
portion of the amount paid in excess of the maximum permitted
CPST rate of $11.71 per month (plus franchise fees), plus
interest to the date of the refund, for the period July 15, 1994,
through March 31, 1995.
8. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Operator shall promptly
determine the overcharges to CPST subscribers for the stated
periods, and shall within 30 days of the release of this Order,
file a report with the Chief, Enforcement Bureau, stating the
cumulative refund amount so determined (including franchise fees
and interest), describing the calculation thereof, and describing
its plan to implement the refund within 60 days of Commission
approval of the plan.
9. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 0.111 and
0.311 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111 and 0.311,
that the complaints referenced herein against the CPST rates
charged by Operator in the community referenced above ARE
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David H. Solomon
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
1 Effective March 25, 2002, the Commission transferred
responsibility for resolving cable programming services tier rate
complaints from the former Cable Services Bureau to the
Enforcement Bureau. See Establishment of the Media Bureau, the
Wireline Competition Bureau and the Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau, Reorganization of the International Bureau and
Other Organizational Changes, FCC 02-10, 17 FCC Rcd 4672 (2002).
2 The term "Operator" includes Operator's successors and
predecessors in interest.
3 In the Matter of Sammons Communications, Inc., DA 95-303, 10
FCC Rcd 3816 (CSB 1995).
4 Id. at n. 1.
5 The Commission's rules provide for a refund liability deferral
period, if timely requested by the Operator, beginning May 15,
1994 and ending July 14, 1994, for any overcharges resulting from
Operator's calculation of a new maximum permitted rate on its FCC
Form 1200. See 47 C.F.R. § 76.922(b)(6)(ii). Operator elected to
defer refund liability. However, Operator will incur refund
liability from May 15, 1994 through July 14, 1994 for any CPST
rates charged above the FCC Form 393 maximum permitted rate. The
Cable Services Bureau included this time period in its refund
plan calculation for DA 95-303. See In the Matter of Marcus
Cable Associates, LP, DA 99-1906, 14 FCC Rcd 15865 (CSB 1999).
6 Communications Act, Section 623(c), as amended, 47 U.S.C. §
7 Pub. L. No. 102-385, 106 Stat. 1460 (1992).
8 See Section 76.956 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. §
10 See Section 76.957 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. §
11 See Section 76.922 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. §