Cable Rate Regulation

Cable rates are unregulated in communities that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) deems to have effective competition.

Effective competition

Effective Competition is defined by Section 623(l)(1) of the Federal Communications Act of 1934 as amended:

  1. The term ''effective competition'' means that--
    1. Fewer than 30 percent of the households in the franchise area subscribe to the cable service of a cable system;
    2. The franchise area is--
      • Served by at least two unaffiliated multichannel video programming distributors each of which offers comparable video programming to at least 50 percent of the households in the franchise area; and
      • The number of households subscribing to programming services offered by multichannel video programming distributors other than the largest multichannel video programming distributor exceeds 15 percent of the households in the franchise area;
    3. A multichannel video programming distributor operated by the franchising authority for that franchise area offers video programming to at least 50 percent of the households in that franchise area; or
    4. A local exchange carrier or its affiliate (or any multichannel video programming distributor using the facilities of such carrier or its affiliate) offers video programming services directly to subscribers by any means (other than direct-to-home satellite services) in the franchise area of an unaffiliated cable operator which is providing cable service in that franchise area, but only if the video programming services so offered in that area are comparable to the video programming services provided by the unaffiliated cable operator in that area.

FCC Orders granting effective competition

FCC Charter Order - FCC 19-110 

Auburn Hadley Southampton
Belchertown Hampden Spencer
Brimfield Harvard Stockbridge
Brookfield Holden Sturbridge
Charlton Lee Upton
Chicopee Lenox Uxbridge
Dalton Ludlow West Boylston
Dudley Paxton West Brookfield
East Brookfield Pepperell Wilbraham
East Longmeadow Pittsfield Worcester
Easthampton Richmond  

FCC Comcast/Cox Order - DA 20-1461

Acushnet Gardner Plainville
Agawam Gloucester Provincetown
Amesbury Granby Quincy
Amherst Greenfield Rehoboth
Attleboro Groveland Rockport
Avon Hanson Salem
Berkley Harwich Saugus
Beverly Hatfield Scituate
Blackstone Haverhill Sharon
Bridgewater Holland Somerset
Brockton Holyoke South Hadley
Buckland Hyannis Southwick
Cambridge Lancaster Springfield
Carlisle Longmeadow Sunderland
Chatham Lowell Swansea
Clinton Manchester Templeton
Concord Merrimac Ware
Dartmouth Milton Warren
Deerfield Montague Wellfleet
Dennis New Bedford West Bridgewater
Dighton Newbury West Springfield
Dracut Newburyport Westfield
East Bridgewater Northampton Westhampton
Eastham Norton Weymouth
Essex Orleans Whitman
Fairhaven Palmer Williamsburg
Falmouth Peabody Winthrop
Fall River Pelham Yarmouth


FCC Comcast Order - DA 16-1389


FCC Time Warner Order - DA 16-611


FCC Comcast Order - DA 16-437

Ashby Holliston Norfolk
Ashland Hopedale North Andover
Bellingham Hull Norwell
Billerica Lakeville Randolph
Chelmsford Leominster Shirley
Cohasset Marblehead Stow
Danvers Maynard Templeton
Dover Medway Topsfield
Duxbury Mendon Walpole
Easton Middleton Wayland
Foxborough Milford Weston
Hanover Millis Wrentham

FCC Public Notice - DA 15-1441

Chelsea Malden Medford

FCC Time Warner Order - DA 15-164

Adams Clarksburg North Adams

FCC Order - DA 14-407 and FCC Erratum - DA 14-586

Mansfield Revere Tauton
North Attleboro    

FCC Charter Order - DA 13-2197

Boylston Leicester Northbridge

FCC Charter Order - DA 13-2008

Auburn Hinsdale Southborough
Barre Hubbardston Southbridge
Berlin Lanesborough Sutton
Brookfield Millbury Upton
Charlton Millville Uxbridge
Douglas North Brookfield Webster
Dudley Northborough West Brookfield
Dunstable Oakham West Stockbridge
East Brookfield Oxford Westborough
Grafton Pepperell Westport
Groton Rutland Worcester

FCC Time Warner Order - DA 11-270


FCC Comcast Order - DA 10-847


FCC Comcast Order - DA 10-848

Bedford Mattapoisett Norwood
Canton Medfield Rochester
Lawrence Melrose Tyngsborough
Lynnfield Methuen Wilmington
Marion Middleborough  

FCC Comcast Order - DA 08-2632


FCC Comcast Order - DA 08-2633

Rowley Sherborn

FCC Comcast Order - DA 08-1594

Abington Falmouth Plymouth
Aquinnah Halifax Plympton
Bourne Kingston Rockland
Carver Marshfield Sandwich
Chilmark Oak Bluffs Tisbury
Edgartown Pembroke West Tisbury

FCC Comcast Order - DA 08-1507

Acton Ipswich  Sudbury
Andover Lincoln Swampscott
Belmont Littleton Tewksbury
Boxborough Lynn Wellesley
Boxford Marlborough Wenham
Franklin Nahant West Newbury
Georgetown North Reading Westwood
Hamilton Reading Winchester
Hopkinton Stoneham Woburn

FCC Comcast Order - DA 08-1334

Fitchburg Nantucket Island Westminster
Lunenburg Truro  

FCC Comcast Order - DA 08-1215

Brookline Natick Waltham
Burlington Wakefield Watertown

FCC Comcast Order - DA 08-773

Ashburnham Gill Seekonk
Ayer Granville Shelburne
Bernardston Hardwick Townsend
Chester Hudson Wareham
Conway Huntington Westford
Erving Monson Winchendon
Everett Northfield  

FCC Time Warner Order - DA 08-875

Athol Orange Sheffield
Great Barrington    

FCC MediaOne Order - DA 03-28

Dedham Needham

FCC AT&T Order - DA 02-3376


FCC MediaOne Order - DA 99-1686

Arlington Newton  

FCC Time Warner Order - DA 99-285


U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirms FCC ruling that AT&T TV Now streaming service provides effective competition to cable

On December 18, 2020, the First Circuit denied the Department’s appeal of an FCC Order that found that AT&T TV Now constitutes effective competition to Charter.  As a result of this ruling, there is currently no regulation of cable rates.  The Department had been the last government agency in the country to have maintained any form of cable rate regulation.  MADTC v FCC


Contact for Cable Rate Regulation


If you have Diversity, Affirmative Action or Equal Employment Opportunity questions or need a Reasonable Accommodation, please contact Diversity Officer/ADA Coordinator Andrea Nixon.

Open from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., M-F


(617) 988-8288


1000 Washington Street, Suite 600, Boston, MA 02118

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