Cities and towns will have a more difficult time imposing rate regulation on basic cable TV service because of a vote this week by the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC yesterday released a report and order declaring that cable TV faces “effective competition” nationwide, mainly because of the widespread availability of satellite TV service like DirecTV and Dish. This decision helps cable companies, as we wrote when it was still in the proposal stage:
Local franchise authorities may regulate the rates cable TV providers charge for “basic” cable service and equipment, but only if the local cable company does not face what’s known as “effective competition.” Today, the burden of proof is on cable companies to show that they face effective competition, but the FCC is considering a change that would shift the burden of proof to local authorities by adopting a “rebuttable presumption” that cable operators face effective competition.
The move will help all cable companies regardless of size, despite arguments from two commissioners that only smaller providers should be granted relief from rate regulation.
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