Leased Access Rules Get Fresh Start as FCC Proposes Abandoning 2008 Order

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At its June Open Meeting, the FCC adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) seeking to update its leased access rules, which require cable operators to reserve channel capacity for commercial use by unaffiliated video programmers.  In the NPRM, the Commission proposes vacating its 2008 Leased Access Order, which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has stayed for a decade in conjunction with several judicial appeals, and which the Office of Management and Budget had separately rejected under the Paperwork Reduction Act.  The FCC also proposes requiring cable operators to respond only to bona fide requests from prospective leased access programmers and modifying the Commission’s procedures for addressing leased access disputes.  The NPRM seeks comment on, among other things, whether the FCC should extend the timeframe for responding to leased access requests and whether it should allow cable operators to require leased access programmers to pay a nominal application fee and/or a deposit.  Comment deadlines will be announced upon the NPRM’s publication in the Federal Register.

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