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NCTA argues against program access in L.A. - Broadcasting & Cable

NCTA argues against program access in L.A.

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The city of Los Angeles does not have the right to impose any program-access
requirements on Comcast Corp., the National Cable & Telecommunications
Association told Mayor James Hahn Tuesday.

Comcast wants the city to transfer to it the cable license of AT&T
Broadband, a company Comcast bought last year.

In a Nov. 15 letter, City Attorney Rockard Delgadillo said the city has the
right to impose such a condition on the license transfer according to state and
federal law, and it can impose that condition either now or later.

The NCTA disagreed, saying that federal law leaves the determination of
program-access requirements strictly in the hands of the federal government with
the Federal Communications Commission as monitor.

"Congress intended to occupy the field regarding the regulation of such
matters," wrote Dan Brenner, senior vice president of legal affairs for the NCTA.
"It not only explicitly pre-empted inconsistent state and local regulation, but
also precluded federal, state and local regulation from regulating this field at
all."

In the letter, Brenner placed the impetus for the proposed program-access
requirement on Verizon Communications, although he wondered why because Verizon owns no cable
systems.

"Its motivation may arise out of its status as a competitor in nonvideo
markets," Brenner wrote.

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