There is a provision in the Cable Act of 1984 that opens the door to reregulating the cable industry when it becomes available to 70% of all US TV households and that 70% of those who can get it choose to do. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin (R) believes those statistical benchmarks may have been achieved (although cable industry representatives say the industry is nowhere near that level of penetration), and appears ready to push through new regulations affecting big cable. Among proposals believed to be on cap of 30% of the national cable subscriber base and a requirement making it cheaper and easier for small programmers to get on the channel lineup. It is also believed Martin will make an attempt to put his own pet project, a requirement to offer a la carte channel menus, on the books.
RBR/TVBR observation: Broadcast and communications issues are awesome in their ability to thwart your expectations. When we think of the name Martin, we tend to think of deregulation, but here’s a case where he seems to be looking at a heaping helping of new regulation.