Cablevision Settles SDV Suit

Will pay $25,000 and inform customers when delivering programming in switched-digital-video format

Cablevision has agreed to pay $25,000 and inform its customers when it is delivering programming in a two-way, switched-digital-video (SDV) format that can't be received by unidirectional equipment.

The FCC had investigated Cablevision's use of SDV and whether it had provided sufficient notice to subs and local franchising authorities when it switched to the technology.

FCC rules require that cable systems provide 30 days written notice to both before making any service change.

According to the consent decree, which does not include any determination of fact but does preclude any appeal of the terms of the decree, Cablevision agreed to make a voluntary contribution of $25,000 (it can't be a fine since there was no finding of fault) and take a number of steps to insure sufficient notification going forward.

Those include written notice whenever a switch to SDV renders any programming inaccessible with current equipment; 2) an internal compliance system; and 3) a report to the FCC on April 1, 2011.

The consent decree expires in two years, but that does not absolve the company of the requirement to provide sufficient notice of service changes.