FCC makes public March NPRM on leased cable access

The commission made public June 15 a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) adopted in March to access the status of cable TV leased access and how new digital technologies, such as video compression, may affect FCC rules used to determine the number of channels cable operators should set aside for such use.

FCC rules require cable operators to set aside a certain percentage of their total number of channels for lease to video programmers who aren’t affiliated with the cable company. That percentage varies depending on the total number of channels offered by the cable system. The commission also is involved in determining how much can be charged, setting up terms and conditions of use and a means to settle disputes between a programmer and the cable system.

With the advent of digital technologies, such as video compression, the capacity of cable systems may change markedly, making previous ways of calculating the number of leased access channels obsolete.

The commission sought comment in a number of areas to assess the current state of leased access. It also asked for comment on the formula used to determine leased access rates as well as how the transition to digital affects channel count for the purpose of calculating carriage obligations and average rates.

For more information, visit: www.fcc.gov.