• Comcast, Charter, Time Warner. These companies have at least one thing in common: the regulation of their cable television services by the Federal Communications Commission.

    Regulation begins

    The FCC began regulating cable television in 1965 with rules for systems that used microwave antennas to transmit signals, according to the FCC. The next year, rules came for all systems, including those not using microwave antennas.

    Regulating Rates

    The FCC began regulating rates charged by cable companies after the 1992 Cable Act. The act excludes small cable operators that serve less than 1 percent of the U.S. population and are not affiliated with entities with revenues of $250 million annually.

    Programming information

    The 1996 Telecommunications Act required broadcasters to develop program ratings that would provide information to consumers about the content of the company's programming. The TV Parental Guidelines were approved in 1998.

    Regulating operations

    Cable system operators must register before operations begin, but may begin operating as soon as they file paperwork that includes the company name, the date service will be provided to 50 or more subscribers, the television broadcast signals used in the system and the name of the community or area that will be served.

    Regulating ownership

    The FCC also regulates ownership of cable systems, including a 40 percent limit on channels occupied by programmers that have a relationship with the cable company.


    FCC: General Cable Television Industry and Regulation Information Fact Sheet, 1996

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