Cablevision Ally Gets FCC Permit

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DTV Norwich, an affiliate of Cablevision Systems Corp., Thursday received a Federal Communications Commission license for wireless services in New York City, but the agency warned that the affiliate would forfeit the license if it failed to rectify a crossownership violation within 270 days.

DTV Norwich bid for a multichannel-video-distribution and data service (MVDDS) license in an FCC auction held in January. The company did so even though FCC rules ban the common ownership of an MVDDS licensee and a cable system in the same market. Cablevision is the New York City region’s dominant cable operator.

270-DAY PLAN

DTV Norwich has promised the commission that it will take the necessary steps to clear up the crossownership problem within the allotted 270 days. Cablevision’s wholly owned Rainbow Media Holdings LLC owns 49% of DTV Norwich.

The FCC said it expects Cablevision’s planned spinoff of Rainbow and other steps will cure the crossownership violation.

The agency said it didn’t want to rush DTV Norwich because the agency has long opposed requiring a licensee to engage in a “fire sale” that might produce a below-market price for the asset.

If the ownership problem persists, the FCC said it would cancel the license and not return the $24.2 million bid by DTV Norwich.

An MVDDS license is intended for the terrestrial distribution of video programming and one-way high-speed Internet access.

MVDDS spectrum is located in the same band used by direct-broadcast satellite providers.

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