Re: Cable TV Broadcast Retransmission Consent Feuds "Ease Up" [Telecom]

This statement wouldn't apply to CATV situati > I don't understand that statement. CATV *is* cable TV. Back > when the industry started, CATV stood for "community antenna > television" because that's all it did: act like a big antenna > for broadcast stations. But after CATV systems started > carrying non-broadcast satellite-delivered programming, the > term "cable TV" replaced "CATV". I still use "CATV" and > "cable TV" interchangeably.

Kerman continued:

If I understand correctly, cable [television] and CATV are regulated > differently,...

The terms "CATV", "Cable TV", and "Cable Television" are synonymous (although "CATV" has largely fallen into disuse). From the regulatory standpoint, it makes no difference what you call it.

... that systems that exist to retransmit broadcast stations to > locations within the 35 mile radius of the broadcast tower that > defines the market...

Under FCC signal-carriage rules in effect before the 1992 Cable Act, the "specified zone" (the FCC's proxy for "market") of a full-power commercial television broadcast station was defined as a 35-mile radius around the "reference point" of the station's city of license (not the location of broadcast tower). Rules then in effect contained a list of the geographic coordinates of the reference points for most cities. The 1992 Act redefined "market" as the Nielsen DMA [1].

...but for reasons of geography cannot receive the signal continue > to be treated like monopolies and subject to rate setting by tariff.

The 1992 cable act created a complicated rate-regulation structure for the cable TV/CATV industry. This act applies to all cable TV/CATV systems in the United States without regard to their location with respect to any broadcast tower.

The act set up a procedure under which LFAs [2] could regulate cable TV rates, subject to FCC overview. It contained formulas for calculating the maximum permissible rate for the basic tier [3]. The act also specified:

- A cable TV system may adjust its rates for changes in external costs that occurred during the previous calendar quarter as soon as the information needed to compute the appropriate adjustment is available. External costs are defined as "programming costs, retransmission consent fees, taxes on the provision of cable television service, franchise fees, and the costs of meeting franchise requirements." In other words, if the retransmission-consent fee for a broadcast station goes up by X dollars, the basic subscription fee goes up by X dollars plus the sales tax on X dollars.

- Cable systems "subject to effective competition" are exempt from rate regulation. Effective competition was defined as 15% market penetration by competing video providers. Many cable TV systems in suburban and rural areas today fall under this exemption due to competition from Dish Network and DirecTV.

I don't know how things are regulated in areas outside television > markets based on radii around broadcast towers.

Televisi > Funny, I always thought CATV stood for "Community Access > TeleVision." Anyway, that's what our local Community Access > stations seem to think. >

> Footnotes: ... [likewise snipped] ... > > > > Neal McLain > > Straighten me out, please, if I've got that wrong :-) .

Once upon a time, CATV stood for Community Antenna Television. But since that term has fallen into disuse, I guess there's nothing to prevent anybody from using it to mean something else.

Public Access outfits often adopt three- or four-letter mnemonics to identify themselves, so I'm not surprised that one of them would select CATV.


[1] Actually, the 1992 Cable Act specified the Arbitron ADI (Area of Dominant Influence) as the definition of a commercial television broadcast station's market. But about the same time that the act went into effect, Arbitron withdrew from the television ratings business, so the FCC informally let it be known that the Neilsen DMA could be used instead. But the FCC couldn't change the actual law -- only Congress could do that -- so the DMA was adopted by default. [2] Local Franchising Authority (LFA) - a governmental agency or quasi-governmental organization that administers a cable television franchise. An LFA is usually a municipal government, but it may be a county government or a group of two or more local governments operating under an interlocal agreement. [3] Basic Service Tier - The FCC defines the basic service tier as follows: The basic service tier shall, at a minimum, include all signals of domestic television broadcast stations provided to any subscriber (except a signal secondarily transmitted by satellite carrier beyond the local service area of such station, regardless of how such signal is ultimately received by the cable system), any public, educational, and governmental programming required by the franchise to be carried on the basic tier, and any additional video programming signals a service added to the basic tier by the cable operator. 47 CFR 76.901(a).
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