CableWORLD caught up with Ken Ferree, chief of the FCC’s Media Bureau, via e-mail, and asked him for a forecast of cable’s regulatory future. CW: What are the five regulatory issues cable should be prepared to deal with this year?
Ferree: There are three issues that cable should be prepared to deal with: must-carry, two-way plug-and-play and broadband classification. CW: What’s your initial take on these issues?
Ferree: On all of these issues, we are listening to the views of the cable industry as well as other interested parties and the consumer groups. CW: Can cable do more to spur the broadband rollout?
Ferree: The cable industry is doing a good job offering new and advanced services to consumers. My wife loves the PVR functionality of our new cable box. In terms of broadband, the FCC recently reported that cable modem subscribers increased by 20% during the first six months of 2003. I hope to see that trend continue. CW: What trends do you expect to see in the communications arena during 2004?
Ferree: I look forward to seeing what News Corp. will do with DirecTV and how cable will respond. CW: Is there a digital divide?
Ferree: The FCC’s responsibility is to make sure its regulatory policies encourage more deployment of advanced services to all Americans. [Cable] has demonstrated a clear recognition of the importance of access to digital technology by upgrading its plants and offering community programs such as Cable in the Classroom.

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