FCC to Cable: Put a Cap On It

The FCC on Tuesday voted to once again cap the growth of cable companies that reach 30 percent market share.

A federal appeals court in 2001 overturned the FCCs previous cable cap and Republican commissioner Robert McDowell predicted Tuesdays order also will be upended. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) agreed.

We are confident that a court will again reject conclusions driven by a political agenda to target the cable industry that are completely at odds with the realities of a dynamic and competitive marketplace that is providing greater consumer choice and value, said NCTA President and CEO Kyle McSlarrow in a statement.

The decision impacts Comcast Corp. most heavily; its market share hovers around 27 percent, although it is losing subscribers to telco and satellite TV competition. Time Warner Cable is the second-largest cableco with approximately 14 percent penetration.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, who has been consistent with his policy objectives to regulate cable while making entry easier for telcos, couldnt get the support of his two fellow Republicans for the cap. Democrats Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, however, voted for it.

Commissioners statements werent immediately available but the vote wasnt a surprise. Martin has tried several times recently to tighten the screws on the cable industry. Just last month he was forced to admit that data he wanted to use to support his call for a cap was incomplete and one-sided. For years he has been open about his dislike of indecent programming and cable companies refusal to let subscribers choose which channels they want to buy. Still, he has denied accusations that he has a vendetta against the cable industry.

Comcast Corp.
Time Warner Cable

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