Update on Commercial Leased Access Decisions
The FCC released a string of decisions late last week dismissing three separate complaints filed by commercial leased access programmers against cable operators. These decisions come on the heals of a fairly lengthy period of inactivity at the FCC on commercial leased access matters.
Two of the cases concerned cable operators requiring commercial leased access programmers to obtain general comprehensive and errors and omissions liability insurance. While the FCC dismissed these two complaints on procedural grounds, it also reiterated its adherence to prior FCC precedent, which held that requiring a leased access programmer to obtain reasonable liability insurance coverage does not constitute a violation of the leased access regulations. Insurance requirements have been quite controversial, and the Commission’s reaffirmation of their legitimacy should be helpful to concerned cable operators.
The third decision released by the FCC concerned a commercial leased access programmer complaining that the operator had violated the FCC’s regulations by refusing to carry a programmer, even though the programmer had a prior history of non-payment and was now refusing to pay the maximum permitted rate for carriage. The FCC found that these allegations did not support a violation of the FCC’s rules.
The FCC’s procedural rulings in these cases are helpful to the cable industry, as they provide some protection against untimely and unsupported complaints. In particular, the FCC rejected two complaints as untimely, because they were filed well after 60 days from the date of the alleged violation. The FCC further noted that it would not consider commercial leased access complaints that were not supported by relevant documentation or affidavit as required by the FCC’s rules.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have concerning commercial leased access matters.