The FCC published its proposed new rules aimed at making it easier for programmers to lease cable channels that cable operators by statute must make available.
The modified rules are a response to complaints from programmers that large MSOs have made it difficult to get carriage.
The new rules will kick in 90 days after being published, which should occur within a few business days. The proposed rules are still subject to public comment.
The new rules would give cable operators three days to respond to a programmer request (operators now have 15 days), and the FCC outlined precisely what information must be included in the response.
The order also sets a maximum allowable leased access rate of 10 cents per subscriber, per month – a significant rate cut. This rate would apply only to non-commercial programmers. The cut is “to ensure that leased access remains a viable outlet for programmers,” according to the order.
The new rules do not apply to small operators with fewer than 36 channels. Operators with 36 to 54 activated channels must set aside 10 percent of their channels for leased access; operators with 55 channels or more must reserve 15 percent of them for leased access.
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