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FCC need not impose consumer DTV education rules on cable industry, says NCTA

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) Sept. 17 told the commission the cable industry has committed to air $200 million worth of TV commercials to educate viewers about the DTV transition and that it should refrain from intervening to mandate cable operators take particular steps to inform consumers.

The trade association laid out its reasoning in a filing with the commission in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking inquiring about whether the commission should take further steps to promote consumer awareness.

The rulemaking proceeding was prompted by a letter from two influential Congressmen that expressed concern about the general public’s lack of knowledge about the transition and the efforts of the commission to promote greater understanding.

In its filing, the NCTA laid out a multifaceted consumer awareness campaign launched this month. The effort includes a customer communication tool kit to be sent to cable systems nationwide before the end of the year to assist them in educating subscribers; brochures for distribution at the community level; and revamping of the NCTA Web site to highlight the transition and links to sites devoted to helping consumers with the transition. The capstone of the effort is a series of Spanish- and English-language TV commercials that began this month to promote greater awareness.

The NCTA also told the commission that it is unnecessary to require partners on partners to file reports on their DTV education efforts because such information is available on trade association Web sites and from other public sources.

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