Cable rates are unregulated in communities that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) deems to have effective competition.
Effective Competition is defined by Section 623(l)(1) of the Federal Communications Act of 1934 as amended:
The term ''effective competition'' means that--
Fewer than 30 percent of the households in the franchise area subscribe to the cable service of a cable system;
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;
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
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.
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. MDTC v FCC
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