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fcclogo NEWS

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
TTY: 202/418-2555

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).

May 9, 2000
Linda Paris (202) 418-7121
Michelle Russo (202) 418-2358


New Orleans, LA - William E. Kennard, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), today said, "I believe that in this robust technological age, market-based solutions are the best and most efficient ways to satisfy the demands of American consumers." He challenged the cable industry to "police your own" before consumers demand governmental action to prevent future program disruptions of the kind that resulted last week from a retransmission dispute between Time Warner and Disney/ABC.

In remarks prepared for delivery at the annual convention of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) in New Orleans, Kennard said, "I realize last week's tug-of-war was partly over costs and the potential impact on consumer rates. I just hope future differences can be settled in boardrooms rather than on blank screens."

Kennard added, "The dispute between Time Warner and Disney/ABC raised demons of distrust among consumers." He warned the industry that consumers can and will exercise their choices in a competitive marketplace. He said, "Customers will turn more and more to the non-cable alternatives that are increasingly available."

Kennard called upon the industry to acknowledge the critical public interest impact of its activities, and to be bound by that responsibility. Noting that the essential business of the cable industry is to promote "the free-flow of ideas," he said cable "can maximize its good market position by using its systems as launching pads to openness for its customers and for the American public."

Kennard urged industry executives to provide Internet access to cable systems through the "small ISPs who can offer your customers the diversity and special attention of small-scale operators." He commended several industry agreements that had been made with the larger ISPs, but said that the industry should not stop there.