A random sampling of cable operators will be receiving
survey forms from the FCC and have until July 27 to supply cable service and
equipment pricing information.
The FCC is required by the 1992 Cable Act to publish an
average rate for service and equipment. In addition, the FCC collects data on
the number of channels offered in each service, what advanced services,
including Internet access, are available, and whether there is a so-called
"family tier" offered.
The survey actually includes two random samples, one of
operators where the FCC has granted effective competition petitions -- meaning
basic rates have been deregulated -- and a sample of other communities where
such petitions have not been granted. The Cable Act also requires the FCC to
compare the rates in each group.
In addition to being published in aggregate form, the
information is also subject to FOIA requests, so the FCC advises operators that
if they want to keep it confidential, they need to ask for it in writing and
need to explain why it is necessary.