The cable industry’s fight to defeat new leased access rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was given a boost when an appeals court ruled that the new rules cannot go into effect and offered the opinion that the FCC’s dictates would not hold up against legal challenge.
Cable operators with 36 channels or more must set aside 10 percent to 15 percent of their channels (depending on size) for commercial lease to third parties.
In 2007, the FCC ordered cable operators to lower their leased access rates and simplify the leasing process, and the Commission gave third parties additional rights if and when they have a complaint about the leasing process.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed enforcement of those rules until the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) could challenge them in court, agreeing with the cable industry that there is some likelihood that they may experience harm if the rules are implemented.
The court said that if the rules are challenged, the NCTA would probably win on the merits of the case.
The NCTA argues that the imposition of the rules was arbitrary, violated FCC procedure, and violated First Amendment provisions on free speech and Fifth Amendment rights against unlawful taking of private property.
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