Martin: Cable Ire Comes With Territory

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FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said Wednesday he didn't have it in for cable, arguing that industries commonly feel picked on when they disagree with FCC policies.

He also said the FCC would act within six months on its proposal to extend the video franchise changes it made last December that make video franchises easier to get.

That came in response to a question from Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), former chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, in an FCC oversight hearing Wednesday.

Barton said some cable operators had come to see him, saying Martin was picking on them and citing as a most recent example the video franchise rule changes, which apply to telcos but not to incumbent cable operators.

Martin said that the FCC had already expressed a preference for extending them to incumbents but wasn't sure it had the authority. He reiterated the FCC's commitment to a decision within a few months.

National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow was asked a similar question at a cable industry forum earlier in the week about what was characterized as Martin's "crusade" against cable. McSlarrow did not not say much beyond giving the FCC credit for some deregulatory steps it took that NCTA favored and saying Martin had "not been easy" to work with.

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