A bill to remove the 70/70 provision from the 1984 Cable Act has been introduced to the House of Representatives.
Sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, and joined by Reps. Edolphus Towns and Joe Barton, the legislation would repeal the provision, which FCC Chairman Kevin Martin tried to use last week to justify exerting greater regulatory control of the cable industry.
That effort failed largely because of an argument about the validity of the numbers used to demonstrate that the cable industry has a penetration rate exceeding 70 percent of all households passed by cable. If it could be proved that cable has reached or exceeded the 70 percent penetration rate, the FCC could again invoke the clause. The proposed legislation would make the argument moot.
“Like the black-and-white television, beta-max video-recorder and the telegraph of yester-year, it is time to retire the FCC’s ’70/70′ authority under current law,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said in a statement.