Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 106 Part 2.djvu/580

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106 STAT. 1460 PUBLIC LAW 102-385—OCT. 5, 1992 Public Law 102-385 102d Congress An Act Oct 5 1992 '^° amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide increased consumer protection ' and to promote increased competition in the cable television and related markets, [S. 12] and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of Cable Television the United States of America in Congress assembled. Consumer Protection and SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. of 1992. This Act may be cited as the "Cable Television Consumer Business and Protection and Competition Act of 1992". industry. 47 USC 609 note. SEC. 2. FINDINGS; POLICY; DEFINITIONS. (a) FINDINGS.— The Congress finds and declares the following: (1) Pursuant to the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, rates for cable television services have been deregulated in approximately 97 percent of £dl franchises since December 29, 1986. Since rate deregulation, monthly rates for the lowest priced basic cable service have increased by 40 percent or more for 28 percent of cable television subscribers. Although the average number of basic channels has increased from about 24 to 30, average monthly rates have increased by 29 percent during the same period. The average monthly cable rate has increased almost 3 times as much as the Consumer Price Index since rate deregulation. (2) For a variety of reasons, including local franchising requirements and the extraordinary expense of constructing more than one cable television system to serve a particular geographic area, most cable television subscribers have no opportunity to select between competing cable systems. Without the presence of another multichannel video programming distributor, a cable system faces no local competition. The result is \indue market power for the cable operator as compared to that of consiuners and video programmers. (3) There has been a substsintial increase in the penetration of cable television systems over the past decade. Nearly 56,000,000 households, over 60 percent of the households with televisions, subscribe to cable television, and this percentage is almost certain to increase. As a result of this growth, the cable television industry has become a dominant nationwide video medium. (4) The cable industry has become highly concentrated. The potential effects of such concentration are barriers to entry for new programmers and a reduction in the number of media voices available to consumers. (5) The cable industry has become vertically integrated; cable operators and cable programmers often have common ownersnip. As a result, cable operators have the incentive and ability to favor their affiliated programmers. This coiild make it more difficult for noncable-affiliated programmers to secure