Hispanic Federation Questions FCC’s Cable 70/70 Findings

Claims FCC Chairman Martin Making Last-Ditch Effort to Push Through a la Carte, Multicast Must-Carry, Leased-access Rate Cuts

The Hispanic Federation Friday called the Federal Communications Commission's finding that cable had reached market power sufficient to justify regulation a last-ditch effort by FCC chairman Kevin Martin to push through a la carte, multicast must-carry and leased-access rate cuts.

The chairman has argued that all of those would benefit minorities, but the federation said that they instead "could undermine Hispanic-owned networks on cable by depriving them of the economic model that supports them, as well as drying up limited channel space by instead handing it to throw-away channels like home shopping networks and 24-hour weather monitoring."

The cable industry said the FCC's finding of market power -- meeting the so-called 70/70 test -- is off base.

Also weighing in Friday was the Minneapolis League of Rural Voters, which had even tougher things to say. The group said the FCC was "stiff-arming" rural viewers in a "relentless pursuit of a la carte regulations that studies have shown would snuff out program choice while raising prices." Martin contended that they would do just the opposite.