Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

FCC Media Bureau Finds That Time Warner Cable Subject To Effective Competition In Six Communities in New York State

The FCC Media Bureau has found that Time Warner Cable is subject to "effective competition" in six communities in New York (Chili, Churchville, Clarkson, Gates, Hamlin, and Henrietta). According to FCC regulations, only cable companies that are not subject to effective competition may be regulated. In its ruling, the agency held that under its two part test,

Turning to the first prong of this test, it is undisputed that the Communities are “served by” both DBS providers, DIRECTV and DISH, and that these two MVPD providers are unaffiliated with Petitioner or with each other.  A franchise area is considered “served by” an MVPD if that MVPD’s service is both technically and actually available in the franchise area.  DBS service is presumed to be technically available due to its nationwide satellite footprint, and presumed to be actually available if households in the franchise area are made reasonably aware of the service's availability. The Commission has held that a party may use evidence of penetration rates in the franchise area (the second prong of the competing provider test discussed below) coupled with the ubiquity of DBS services to show that consumers are reasonably aware of the availability of DBS service. The “comparable programming” element is met if a competing MVPD provider offers at least 12 channels of video programming, including at least one channel of nonbroadcast service programming and is supported in this petition with citations to the channel lineups for both DIRECTV and DISH.  Also undisputed is Petitioner’s assertion that both DIRECTV and DISH offer service to at least “50 percent” of the households in the Communities because of their national satellite footprint.  Accordingly, we find that the first prong of the competing provider test is satisfied. 

...

The second prong of the competing provider test requires that the number of households subscribing to MVPDs, other than the largest MVPD, exceeds 15 percent of the households in a franchise area.  Petitioner asserts that it is the largest MVPD in the Communities. Petitioner sought to determine the competing provider penetration in the Communities by purchasing a subscriber tracking report from the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association that identified the number of subscribers attributable to the DBS providers within the Communities on a zip code plus four basis.


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Based upon the aggregate DBS subscriber penetration levels that were calculated using Census 2000 household data, as reflected in Attachment A, we find that Petitioner has demonstrated that the number of households subscribing to programming services offered by MVPDs, other than the largest MVPD, exceeds 15 percent of the households in the Communities.  Therefore, the second prong of the competing provider test is satisfied for each of the Communities.

In the Matter of Time Warner Cable Inc., Petition for Determination of Effective Competition in Six Communities in New York State.

 

 

 

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