The Federal Communications Commission issued a notice Thursday reminding
cable operators that the 10-year exemption from a programming-purchase
restriction expires next year on Oct. 5.
Under current law and FCC rules, cable operators subject to rate regulation
are barred from requiring basic subscribers from purchasing another tier of
programming as a condition for buying premium networks and pay-per-view events.
The rule is formally called the 'tier buy-through' prohibition.
In the notice, the commission noted that cable operators that couldn't comply
with the buy-through prohibition for technological reasons were granted a
10-year exemption in the 1992 Cable Act.
The FCC said it wanted to remind cable operators that the 10-year exemption
expires next October and that compliance is mandatory unless operators seek
waivers or are not regulated by the FCC or local governments.