FCC Revives Cable Ownership Issue

May 17, 2005  •  Post A Comment

The Federal Communications Commission announced Tuesday that it is seeking a new round of comment on long-pending proceedings to set limits on the ownership of cable TV systems–restrictions originally mandated in the Cable TV Act of 1992.

Previous agency regulations on the subject barred cable operators from owning systems serving more than 30 percent of the nation’s subscribers. The regulations also prohibited operators from having interests in more than 40 percent of the programming featured on their systems.

In 2001, a federal appeals court threw out the limits. The FCC sought comments on new regulations that year, but never followed through by adopting new limits.

In its announcement Tuesday, the FCC said it wants to freshen the record on the subject. In a joint statement, FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, the agency’s two Democrats, said they were disappointed that the agency had yet to adopt new regulations but agreed that the agency’s existing comments on the issue are stale. “Once the new record is compiled, we hope the commission will prioritize this proceeding and move to a decision,” they said.