ACAC, NCTA Spar Over FCC Record-Keeping Requirement

Smaller operators say online info can be essential to access complaints

Cable operators are split over the FCC’s vertical integration record-keeping requirements as the FCC considers changes to its program access and carriage rules.  

Back in March, the FCC voted unanimously to seek comment on some proposed changes to those rules.  

In its comments on the changes, NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, suggested the FCC should eliminate the requirement that large cable operators compile and upload attributable interest information that can be used by a potential program access complainant. It said that ACA Connect’s position that the requirement was necessary wasspeculative and unwarranted,” as well as “self-serving and factually unsupported,” and “should be rejected,” a characterization ACAC disputed in reply comments. 

ACAC Connects says the fact that complainants have used other sources does not make the current recordkeeping requirement–that they compile and post the info online–less helpful or essential in some cases. For example, it said, while it is not hard to figure out that Comcast owns NBC Sports Washington, it would be hard to retro engineer the info about Charter’s vertical integration contained in its online file, and impossible with a private company like Cox. 

ACAC also says there is no evidence that the requirement is particularly onerous, and adds there are ways to make it even less difficult. 

“The record-keeping requirement, in other words, provides useful information at minimal cost and even such minimal cost can be reduced,” it told the commission.