FCC intervenes in cable TV market

Nov. 10, 2007 at 12:48 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Federal Communications Commission intends to enact new regulations opening the cable television market to smaller rival services to deter monopolies.

The regulations empower the FCC to prohibit major cable television providers from gaining too much control over the sector and allow more diverse programming, The New York Times reported Saturday.

"It is important that we continue to do all we can to make sure that consumers have more opportunities in terms of their programming and that people who have access to the platform assure there are diverse voices," FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said Friday.

The move utilizes the so-called 70/70 rule of the Cable Communications Act of 1985 that allows FCC intervention to diversify the market if services are available to 70 percent of Americans and 70 percent of those are subscribers.

Andrew Jay Schwartzman of the advocacy group Media Access Project hailed the FCC's decision. "The 70/70 finding is enormous," Schwartzman said in the Times. "It gives the commission a blank check to regulate an industry that Congress had largely deregulated."

But Kyle McSlarrow, chief executive officer of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, called it an "intrusion into a marketplace where competition is thriving."

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