MAP Seeking Cable-Case Rehearing


Media Access Project, a public-interest law firm based in Washington, D.C.,
is planning to ask a federal court Monday to review a decision in March that
voided key cable-ownership rules established by the Federal Communications

On March 2, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District
of Columbia Circuit ruled as unconstitutional under the First Amendment an FCC
rule that limited one cable operator to no more than 30 percent of pay TV

MAP president Andrew Jay Schwartzman said his group planned to file by
Monday's deadline to seek rehearing by the full D.C. Circuit bench. If the court
denies MAP's request, it would have 90 days to seek U.S. Supreme Court

In addition to striking down the 30 percent cap, the D.C. Circuit panel also
tossed out a rule that barred cable operators from occupying more than 40
percent of their first 75 channels with affiliated programming.

The decision was a big break for AT&T Broadband, the only cable operator
with more than 30 percent of pay TV subscribers.

That MSO faced a May 19 deadline to sell programming or cable-system assets
to comply with the FCC's rule. Last month, in response to the court decision,
the commission suspended the May 19 deadline indefinitely.

The FCC is expected to announce later Monday whether it will also seek