McSlarrow, NCTA take issue with FCC’s letters of inquiry

Thu, 11/13/2008 - 7:35am
Mike Robuck

National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) President Kyle McSlarrow fired off a letter yesterday to the Federal Communications Commission that voiced his organization’s opposition to the FCC’s recent letters of inquiry (LOI) to cable operators.

The FCC has sent letters of inquiry to cable operators in regard to how channels are being moved from analog to digital tiers. A complaint by the Consumers Union said that cable operators were using next year’s digital TV transition as a way to upsell their subscribers into digital tiers.

In the letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and the rest of the commissioners, McSlarrow said the letters of inquiry to the 13 cable operators violated the Paperwork Reduction Act, and that the FCC should have used a more general notice of inquiry or the FCC’s own video competition report to gather the information.

McSlarrow wrote that the “LOIs are an abuse of process and part of a continuing pattern and practice of such abuse.”

The cable operators who received LOIs were Bend Cable Communications, Bright House Networks, Cablevision Systems, Charter Communications, Comcast Corp., Cox Communications, GCI, Harron Entertainment Co., Midcontinent Communications, Suddenlink Communications and Time Warner Cable. The letter said press reports indicated that RCN Corp. and Verizon Communications also received LOIs. The NCTA said that combined, these companies serve more than 86 percent of the nation’s cable customers.

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