FCC Backs Cox in Tiering Dispute


Washington -- The Federal Communications Commission
dismissed a complaint last week against Cox Communications Inc. alleging that the operator
illegally tied the purchase of expanded basic to the purchase of premium and other

The complaint, filed by three Cox subscribers in San Diego,
was dismissed because the FCC found that Cox is complying with the so-called tier
buy-through prohibition in the 351,500-subscriber franchise area where the three
subscribers live.

FCC rules prohibit cable operators from requiring basic
subscribers to buy expanded basic as a prerequisite to the purchase of premium and
pay-per-view programming.

Until 2002, the prohibition does not apply to cable
operators that can't comply due to technological limitations.

Although the complaint asked the FCC to investigate Cox
systems serving 850,000 California subscribers, the commission said the three subscribers
did not have legal standing to seek an investigation in franchise areas other than their