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Cable law rulemaking begins at FCC.

The ball has started rolling in the implementation of the new cable law and local officials should be prepared to comment on rulemaking procedures issued by the FCC.

In the first of twenty-five separate rulemaking procedures, the Federal Communications Commission, has requested comments from intereated parties on the home wiring, must carry and indecent programming sections of the newly-enacted Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992.

The Cable Act, which was supported by NLC and was approved in a successful veto override by Congress on October 5, 1992, requires that the FCC establish regulations for the administration of cable television on issues such as rate regulations, customer service standards, franchise renewals and equipment compatibility.

In writing the Act, Congress envisioned local governments in a type of "regulatory partnership" with the FCC, whereby cities would share responsibility for implementing certain provisions of the law. Over the next five months, the FCC will be requesting technical information from municipalities in order to create national rules for rate regulation, consumer protection and customer service over the next six months. Local government involvement in this process is critical.

In this first set of proceedings, the FCC is requesting comments on the mandatory television broadcast carriage (must carry) for commercial and non-commercial stations, the retransmission consent provisions of the 1992 Act, specific home wiring issues and how they should be incorporated into its rules, and proposed regulations governing children's access to programming on cable leased access channels

For copies of the FCC's notification, call Anna Ferrera in the Center for Policy and Federal Relations at (202) 626-3020.

Time Warner Lawsuit

On November 5, Time Warner Entertainment Company filed a lawsuit which challenges the constitutionality of provisions in the new cable law and the 1984 Cable Act. Time Warner, among other things, alleges that the provisions concerning rate regulation, damages immunity, municipally-owned cable systems, must carry and retransmission consent violate the right to free speech under the First Amendment and constitute an unconstitutional taking of property under the Fifth Amendment. and constitute an unconstitutional taking of property under the Fifth Amendment. Interested parties must file briefs with the U.S. District court in opposition to the motion by November 24. A special three-judge panel is expected to hear arguments in the cases on December 7.
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Title Annotation:Federal Communications Commission
Author:Ferrera, Anna Pulido
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Nov 16, 1992
Words:381
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