The FCC today released its agenda for its September open meeting, to be held on September 11. As might be expected, the Commission is to consider a number of matters dealing with public safety and homeland security issues for communications companies. However, the Commission will also be considering a number of items dealing with cable television. This includes the proceeding on the obligations of cable systems to carry broadcast television stations after the digital transition. Also to be considered are a proceeding involving the possible extension of the rules restricting cable systems with interests in programming networks from having exclusive rights to that programming, and another proceeding addressing issues left over from the Commission’s order adopting rules restricting the ability of local franchising authorities to delay the franchise applications of competitive cable systems (i.e. those that will compete in a franchise area with the existing system). Comments in each of these proceeding were only received by the FCC in the last few months – so the Commission being ready to act on these matters this quickly is unusual.
Our firm has published memos on each of these issues. The memo on the post-transition obligation of cable systems to carry television stations can be found here. A summary of the proceeding on the rights to exclusive cable programming can be found here. The advisory dealing with the Commission decision on local franchising authorities and their processing of applications for competitive franchises can be found here. More on these issues after next week’s meeting.