NAB says FCC 'unwilling to evaluate' evidence with effective competition order for cable operators

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) accused the FCC of not looking close enough at the thousands of individual TV markets in the U.S. when it adopted its "effective competition" order last June that assumes cable operators compete with satellite and/or telco providers for video services in every market they're in. 

"Unwilling to evaluate evidence and make findings with regard to competitive conditions in potentially 23,506 franchise areas that had not been previously adjudicated, the commission ignored Congressional intent and adopted a rebuttable presumption that a cable operator faces effective competition from other providers in every single franchise area in the country, and shifted the burden of rebutting that presumption from cable operators to franchising authorities," said NAB lawyers in a brief filed Monday.

The brief is part of a lawsuit the NAB, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) and a local Minnesota franchise authority filed against the FCC in August. 

The FCC's ruling ended the ability of states, cities and other local authorities to force cable operators to prove they have competition in their market in order to avoid rate regulation. Previously, operators had to seek recourse with the FCC to escape local rate regulation.

"The commission further relieved cable operators of the requirement to petition for findings of effective competition based on evidence in franchise areas," NAB added. "Instead, the commission ruled sua sponte that each of the certifications it previously issued to many thousands of local franchising authorities to regulate the rates of cable operators would automatically terminate within 90 days of the effective date of the new rules, unless the franchising authority filed a new application for certification with evidence rebutting the presumption."

For more:
- read this NAB brief

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