FCC Reminds Operators Of ‘Buy-Through’ Sunset

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The Federal Communications Commission has issued a notice reminding cable operators that the 10-year exemption from a programming-purchase restriction expires on Oct. 5, 2002.

Current law and FCC rules bar cable operators subject to rate regulation from requiring basic subscribers to purchase an additional tier of programming before they may buy premium networks or pay-per-view events. The rule is formally called the "tier buy-through" prohibition.

In the notice, the agency 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.