Leased-Access Advocates Hope for Copps’ Help

1/31/2009 2:00 AM Eastern

Leased-access programmer Charlie Stogner hopes the new regime at the Federal Communications Commission will finally yield a ruling on whether cable operators must provide leased-access programmers the same ability to deliver programming via the Internet to the cable headend, and on the same terms, as non-leased programmers.

Acting FCC chairman Michael Copps has asked the bureaus to start moving on some non-controversial decisions, seeking to clear up what he calls a “backlog of routine items from stakeholders seeking clarification or a license or some other non-hot-button request.”

Copps replaced Kevin Martin, a Republican who stepped down Jan. 20 as President Obama entered office.

Stogner, who heads the Leased Access Programmers Association, said he is pleased with Copps’s new pledge of openness and his effort to try to get rid of the backlog.

Stogner has been pushing the FCC for more than a year to release a decision on his petition, which was filed back in March of 2008.

Stogner said he is paying $100 a month in eight different places while other non-leased programmers, such as HBO, not only get free satellite reception but operators put up the dish and all the equipment.

“It has to do with whether or not leased-access users are permitted to avail ourselves of the latest technology,” Stogner said.

Generally, the FCC is concentrating on the transition to digital television in the near term, but Copps said that would not prevent it from moving on some other noncontroversial items.