It hasn’t been the best of times for cable at the FCC, where the industry has suffered pro-telco video franchise reform, a scathing cable pricing report, continued a la carte pushes and last week’s denial of an industry significant waiver to the set-top integration ban. But FCC chmn Kevin Martin doesn’t seem to agree with NCTA chief Kyle McSlarrow’s recent characterization of the Commission “moving through a time warp” when it comes to cable issues. “I think that there is a lot of issues in which the Commission is sympathetic to what the cable industry is concerned about,” he said during a press conference Wed. He specifically pointed to net neutrality. “In the context of the Adelphia transaction that occurred last year, the Commission didn’t impose any of the kind of net neutrality requirements that we imposed on some of the other carriers in other transactions last year,” he said. “I think that there’s obviously a variety of issues, and we’ll continue to take each one individually on its merits.” When FCC officials sent word at 7:30pm Tues that Martin would hold a press conference the next morning—his 1st such event in 10 months—we thought there might be some big news brewing. But alas, Martin just wanted to outline the Commission’s plans for the new year. A few of the highlights follow. Cable ownership: Martin wants the Commission to do something—either bring it to a conclusion or fold it into the current broadcast media ownership proceeding. “I think either avenue is fine as far as I’m concerned, but I think we need to do 1 of the 2,” he said. The cable ownership rules, which had put a 30% cap on the number of multichannel HHs a cable company could serve, were thrown out in ’00 by the DC Circuit Appeals Court. Competition: “We’ve taken some dramatic steps in trying to streamline the franchising process. There are various issues pending before the Commission—things like making sure that competitors have access to programming, making sure competitors have access to things like multiple-dwelling units, an increasing focus on how pole attachment fees work. I think the Commission will be active on all of that.”

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