Regulators to Revisit Cable Limits

WASHINGTON Federal regulators on Tuesday said they would seek to determine whether to establish new ownership limits for cable operators.

The action by the Federal Communications Commission is part of its response to a 2001 court ruling that vacated a regulation limiting any single cable company’s size. The regulation said a company could serve up to 30 percent of the homes receiving multi-channel video services, a category that includes homes served by direct-broadcast satellite.

Since the ruling by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, there has been no ceiling on cable operator size. But companies have sought to stop short of the 30 percent mark. Comcast said it would reach roughly 29 percent of the relevant homes after its pending joint purchase, along with Time Warner, of Adelphia Communications.

The FCC under Republican chairman Kevin Martin in its Tuesday notice said it “intends to take a fresh look” at cable rules.

The agency’s two Democrats in a separate statement noted that the agency has collected comments for almost four years since the court ruling, without result. “We need to work efficiently and productively to establish numerical limits,” the Democrats said.