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FCC extends exclusive contract ban to ensure MVPD competition

The Federal Communications Commission Sept. 11 adopted a Report and Order to promote competition in the marketplace for video programming.

The order is intended to ensure competitive multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) continue to have access to essential programming and extends the ban on exclusive contracts between vertically integrated programmers and cable operators until Oct. 5, 2012. The ban already was in place but was set to expire Oct. 5, 2007, before the adoption of the order. The commission also voted to amend its program access complaint procedures to make it easier to resolve complaints and encourage dispute settlement.

Additionally, the commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on two revisions to the program access complaint procedures. The commission wants to know if it should let those filing complaints seek a temporary stay of any proposed changes to existing contracts that are the subject of a program access complaint. It also wants comments on creating an arbitration-type step in the complaint process.

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