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News Release
January 11, 2002
CONTACT: David Fish
(202) 289-8928

PFF Urges Minimally Restrictive Cable Ownership Rules
Eisenach and May File Comments with FCC

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Progress & Freedom Foundation President Jeffrey Eisenach and Director of Communications Policy Studies Randolph May are urging the Federal Communications Commission to adopt the least restrictive regulatory alternatives possible as it sets new ownership rules for multi-system cable television operators.

“The markers identified by the Commission – the statutory mandate, First Amendment principles, the court’s decision, and the MVPD industry’s market conditions – must guide the agency’s decision,” Eisenach and May write in official comments recently delivered to the FCC. “We think that these considerations point towards minimally restrictive ownership limits.

“The speed and unpredictability with which the marketplace is changing should cause the Commission to err on the side of giving the free marketplace more rather than less breathing space,” they continue. “To achieve this end…it should conclude that the presence of a single competing MVPD service is sufficient, given the dynamic nature of the marketplace, to provide an effective prophylaxis against potential harms Congress envisioned from MSO concentration.”

Eisenach and May maintain that some form of the ‘threshold’ or ‘safe harbor’ approach under consideration by the FCC “would not preclude the Commission from continuing to gather evidence on the existence of market power in the multi-channel video marketplace.” However, they argue that, at this point, “neither market power nor consumer harm have been shown by any reasonable standard to exist.”

PFF’s comments and the regulatory proceeding to which they respond are occasioned by the D.C. Circuit’s decision holding that the FCC’s current cable ownership limits are unlawful.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation