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Cable Technology Feature Article

May 17, 2010

Court Rejects Cablevisions 'Must Carry' Appeal

By Kelly McGuire, TMCnet Editor

It looks as if the wait to find out anything regarding the future of cable and service providers adding local broadcast stations into individuals' homes is over. Well, sort of.

According to an article in Yahoo News, the Supreme Court has denied plans to take up a challenge from cable television operators to the 18-year-old requirement that they carry local broadcast stations on their systems.

Cablevision Systems (News - Alert) Corp., the cable services company, filed the appeal, which was rejected today, in which the court upheld a federal "must carry" law, enacted in 1992 when cable TV systems faced much less competition than they do today.

But for Cablevision, as a major competitor in the industry, the battle is long from over. Suing the Federal Communications Commission over its ruling, Cablevision is claiming that the company is now forced to carry the signal of a distant home-shopping station on its Long Island cable systems.

In the court papers that were filed, the cable company claimed that the monopolistic nature of the cable industry is slowing dwindling and now a vibrant competition is taking its place.

And while the President's administration board suggested that the court stay far away from the filing, Cablevisions initiatives remain an incentive for other broadcast stations and the court to stay in tune, as it could damage the financial viability of the industry.

In other cable controversy news, in April, the FCC (News - Alert) told a Congressional panel that, despite a court ruling, there will be minimal regulation actions that would prevent the agency from carrying out its plan to expand high-speed Internet services throughout the United States.

While its unknown if the commission will try and alter the Internet service to a utility-based platform, the debate between Comcast (News - Alert) versus the FCC on whether or not the National Broadband Plan should really take affect is yet to be determined.


Kelly McGuire is a TMCnet Web editor, covering CRM and workforce technologies, and anchor of its daily TMC Newsroom video broadcast. Kelly also writes about eco-friendly "green" technologies and smart grids, compiling TMCnet's weekly e-Newsletters on those topics, as well as the cable industry. To read more of Kelly's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Kelly McGuire