The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) kept up its opposition to new Federal Communications Commission reporting requirements aimed at determining if the cable industry has exceeded the thresholds set in the so-called 70/70 rule.
The rule is a provision of the 1984 Cable Communications Act that gives the FCC expanded authority to impose new regulations on the cable industry. The trigger is the 70/70 rule: If the cable industry passes more than 70 percent of all U.S. households (it has) and also achieves 70 percent penetration of those homes (it hasn’t), the FCC gets expanded authority.
The clause was dredged up two years ago by former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. Martin’s attempts to gain greater control over the cable industry using this mechanism are opposed by a coalition of interests, including, but not limited to, the cable industry, conservatives and minority groups.
The NCTA and the American Cable Association (ACA) have been opposing the effort for more than two years, with public statements as recent as February (story here).
Yesterday, the NCTA issued a document arguing – again – that with the DBS companies and the growing success of former phone companies in the video market, it is statistically impossible for cable to have 70 percent penetration.
The NCTA argues that the FCC is already gathering enough information to satisfy its need for data, and so requesting yet more forms violates the federal Reduction of Paperwork Act.
Cable is also exasperated by the FCC’s demand for information no cable operation has access to, such as household occupancy rates and seasonal occupancy of households that are not cable customers.
And yet the FCC effort continues to grind on.