NCTA Says Cable Cap Is Unnecessary


The National Cable & Telecommunications Association told the FCC Friday it wasn't surprised the commission hasn't been able to come up with a new horizontal ownership cap in six years, and the association advised the FCC not to start now.

A letter filed Friday with the FCC was in response to reports the commission was considering reinstituing a 30% cap on one company's pay subscribers . The cap was previously thrown out by a court for lack of justification.

In the letter, NCTA argued that a new cap was an impossible target to hit, and an unnecessary one given growing marketplace competition. "The video marketplace has been evolving and expanding so rapidly that every time the Commission tries to refresh the record with additional comments, the data it collects become stale before rules can be adopted," the NCTA said in the letter.

NCTA said that in 2001 the court said the FCC needed to take into account the rise of satellite as a competitor, adding that "DBS has since shown itself to be a very effective competitor" and telephone is an emerging multichannel video competitor as well.

The DBS argument may be tough to make with this FCC. Chairman Kevin Martin has made the point several times that the presence of DBS has not been a governor on cable prices, an argument he made for loosening video franchise rules for telcos back in December .