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Senate Republicans Unhappy With FCC Cable Plans

Some Senate Republicans are expressing concerns over Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin's hopes to slap new regulations on cable TV operators. "It is clear to us that it was Congress' intent that the marketplace, and not regulatory fiats, should govern wherever possible," the lawmakers said in a recent letter. "If there is to be a fundamental shift or adoption of new regulatory policies, it is up to Congress, not the [FCC], to implement it," says the Commerce Committee, which oversees the FCC.

Among other plans, Martin wants the FCC to force cable operators to reduce per subscriber charges to leased access programmers; make them carry the Hallmark Channel and the NFL Network; and find that cable penetration exceeds 70% of households, which triggers a rule giving the Feds new regulatory powers over cable operators and programmers. He claims such actions are needed to promote pay-TV competition and give consumers more programming choices.



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