FCC chairman proposes to limit cable growth

The proposal would prohibit a cable company from controlling more than 30 percent of the market.
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FCC chairman Kevin Martin is now pushing a proposal that would prohibit a cable company from controlling more than 30 percent of the market.

Not by coincidence, Comcast — the nation’s largest cable operator — now reaches about 27 percent of all pay-TV subscribers. Adoption of Martin’s proposal would limit its growth.

A proposal to limit cable growth may be included for action on the agenda of the FCC’s meeting scheduled for Dec. 18, the “New York Times” reported. Martin’s proposal would also defer a final vote on a related plan to restrict a cable television company from providing more than 40 percent of its channels with shows from its affiliated programmers.

In this case, the “Times” said, Martin may have the support of the two Democrat commissioners, who support media ownership caps. If so, Martin would have a majority of the commission. However, due to intense cable industry lobbying activity and the short notice, the proposal may never make it to the official agenda.

The proposal fits under Martin’s larger campaign against high cable rates. He told the “Times” there is not enough competition in the marketplace and that the cable companies have erected impediments to more diverse programming.