Cable Inside Wiring Next for FCC

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The Federal Communications Commission is nearing action on rules designed to
settle cable's legal rights when serving apartment houses -- a lucrative
battleground between incumbent MSOs and new entrants -- sources said
Wednesday.

High on the list is whether the FCC will adopt a rule limiting cable
operators' ability to sign exclusive contracts with residential
apartment-building owners. The agency is also considering a rule that would
allow building owners to renegotiate contracts that gave cable operators
perpetual exclusivity.

Another hot issue is whether the FCC will deny cable operators the right to
remove their wires and facilities after the building owner terminates the
service contract.

The commission adopted the previous set of cable inside-wire rules. Charter
Communications Inc. sued the FCC over the rules, but the court postponed review
until the agency acts on pending proposals.

Apartment buildings are battlegrounds in the pay TV universe due to the cost
advantages associated with serving high-density properties.

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