Monday, May 16, 2005

FCC to Examine Cable Ownership Rules

The FCC intends to take a fresh look at rules that will foster competition and diversity in the video programming market.

The FCC currently seeks additional comment and empirical evidence to enable it to formulate sustainable cable horizontal and vertical ownership limits.


  • The 1992 Cable Act directed the FCC to establish limits on the number of subscribers a cable operator may serve and on the number of channels a cable operator may devote to affiliated programming (added as Section 613(f) of the Communications Act).

  • September 23, 1993: The FCC implemented a 30% limit on horizontal cable ownership and a 40% channel occupancy, or vertical, ownership limit.

  • October 8, 1999: The FCC revised its cable ownership and attribution rules to reflect a changing MVPD marketplace.

  • May 19, 2000: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the statute.

  • March 2, 2001: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit remanded the FCC's horizontal and vertical limits for cable companies.

  • September 13, 2001: The FCC launched a proceeding to review cable ownership rules.

  • May 13, 2005: The FCC launches a second proceeding to gather additional evidence on cable ownership rules in light of significant industry and other developments since establishment of the cable ownership rules.

See also