FCC’s Martin Says He’s Not Pushing Any Cable Option

Jan 6, 2006  •  Post A Comment

By Chuck Ross

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said Friday that though he thinks consumers need choices and control over cable content delivered into their homes, he has “stayed away from pushing” any particular option, such as a la carte.

Thus, he said, he will not necessarily demand that cable go a la carte if the family tier solution proposed by various MSOs is not widely adopted by consumers.

Mr. Martin made his remarks during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

In comments made both during an hour-long session with Consumer Electronics Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro and with reporters afterward, Mr. Martin said cable has many options to let consumers control content. One of those options, he noted, is an a la carte situation wherein consumers could be told that for $20 a month they’d get a certain number of channels, and for $60 they’d get a larger number of channels, and the consumer could then choose his or her channels. But he emphasized that that is only one possibility, along with family tiers and other options.

On the question of indecency, he said the FCC will continue to meet its legal mandate to enforce standards of decency on broadcast television. Asked if the FCC needs to do a better job of clarifying what is and is not considered indecent, he said that context is important — something that might be deemed indecent in an entertainment program might not be indecent if it were in a different context on a news program.

And, he added, to make those kinds of differentiations “is a good thing.” Asked if the FCC should enforce indecency rules on satellite-delivered services that use public spectrum-as opposed to cable delivery-he said the FCC has been asked to look into the issue.