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FCC seeks comment on cable regulations.

On November 5, the Federal Communications Commission began the first round of Proceedings to implement the 1992 Cable Act.

The FCC seeks comments on proposed regulations implementing provisions designed to: (1) limit access by children to indecent programming on leased access channels of cable systems; and (2) enable cable operators to prohibit the use of PEG access channels for programming which contains obscene material, sexually explicit conduct or material soliciting or promoting unlawful conduct. The FCC seeks specific comments in several areas, including:

* the definition of indecency that should apply under the i992 act's leased access provision;

* the mechanisms that should be employed by cable operators for blocking indecent programming, and whether cable operators should continue to provide "lockboxes";

* notification procedures that should apply to providers of indecent programming on leased access channels; and

* whether specific procedures should be developed for resolving disputes between cable operators and users of PEG channels over obscene and other types of programming materials.

Moreover, the FCC is seeking comments on how to impelement provisions governing must carry for non-commercial and commercial television stations, retransmission consent, and disposition of home wiring after a subscriber terminates service.

During its November 5 meeting, the FCC noted that the noncommercial must carry provisions go into effect on December 4, 1992 since the 1992 act does not require the FCC to establish rules for noncommercial must carry. However, the commission asked that commenters suggest any clarifications that might be warranted to the noncommercial must carry rules that it must codify.

With regard to the commercial must carry and retransmission consent provisions, the FCC seeks comments on, among other things: (1) which cable systems should be exempt from commercial must carry requirements; (2) how to define a commercial television station's market; (3) how to determine channel positioning priorities among broadcast stations with a valid claim for the same channel; (4) must-carry for low power stations; (5) signal quality standards for the carriage of broadcast stations; (6) notification regarding deletion or repositioning of channels; and (7) compensation for carriage.

In the home wiring proceeding, the FCC is seeking comments on, among other things: (1) the scope of the home wiring rules; (2) whether the rules should distinguish between existing and future cable home wiring installations; (3) the likelihood of subscribers or cable operators wanting the cable home wiring removed; (4) considerations that should be given to home wiring as it relates to future competition in the cable industry; and (5) ownership issues that arise outside the context of the termination of cable service.

The FCC has released the Notice of the Proposed Rule-making on the home wiring and must carry proceedings. Comments in the home wiring proceeding are due on December 1, 1992; reply comments are due on December 15, 1992. Deadlines for the comments on channel access proceeding is December 7, 1992 with reply comments due December 15.

It is anticipated that interested parties may have to file comments in the must carry proceeding by the end of December or early January, and reply comments by mid-January; and may have to file comments in the access channel proceeding by mid-December, and reply comments by the end of December.
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Title Annotation:Federal Communications Commission
Author:Sinel, Norman M.; Grant, Patrick J.; Phillipps, Stephanie M.; Cook, William E., Jr.
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Nov 16, 1992
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