Just when we were getting ready to chide the FCC for taking so long to publish its order setting up a 90-day shot clock for local govts to act on telco franchise applications, it released the long-awaited order. The 100+ page document comes 75 days after the Commission approved the rules in Dec. Local govts look likely to mount a legal challenge to the order, with NATOA retaining legal counsel in Jan. A spokeswoman for the National League of Cities, which is working with NATOA, said staff is reviewing the doc. NCTA said it’s also reviewing the order. It’s not clear if the cable industry will sue, but NCTA has been vocal in its displeasure, saying the order creates an unlevel playing field by not applying the new rules to all providers. Under the rules, the FCC tentatively concludes that cable operators will have to wait until their franchises expire to be entitled to lesser regulation and the 90-day shot clock. The FCC has committed to issuing an order within 6 months on how the rules should apply to cable operators and what effect the order may have on most-favored nation clauses that may be included in some franchises. NCTA has expressed concern that it may mean pre-emption of those clauses, which take effect if a new entrant comes in under better terms.

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So Long, Rob Stoddard

Many years ago, Cablefax: The Magazine bestowed NCTA’ s Rob Stoddard with its first “Nicest Guy in Cable” award. It’s a moniker that stuck, despite Stoddard’s humble protests, for reasons obvious to

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