The FCC will not allow a cable company to serve more than 30 percent of pay TV subscribers in the U.S., and as telcos look to enter the space, Comcast, with about 27 percent of the market wants that informal rule to go away. According to Kagan data research, Comcast has 26.2 million subscribers, out of the 96.8 million pay TV subs in the U.S. The rule aims to protect programmers seeking distribution, but Comcast insists that "revolutionary" changes in the marketplace make that aim a moot cause. YouTube, iTunes and other online video makes distribution to consumers a snap for any budding programmer.
Prior to the late 1990s, a federal law prohibited cable companies from passing more than 30 percent of homes, but then the FCC adopted a 30 percent subscriber cap. In 2001, a federal court threw out that measure and returned it to the FCC for review. Since then the FCC hasn't touched the matter. Seems like it's high time they did.
For more details:
- read this Multichannel article