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House Communications Subcommittee Plans Video Competition Hearing: Sources

By: John Eggerton, Multichannel News

According to industry sources, the House Communications Subcommittee plans to hold a hearing on video competition next week, penciled in for Oct. 22.

No word on witnesses, though look for the usual representatives from a cable and phone company, a cable programmer and a public interest group, said one source.

The committee is chaired by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va), but staffers of Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) were also said to be particularly interested in collecting string on the subject.

Spokesfolk for Waxman and Boucher had not returned calls at press time, and no hearing has yet been scheduled. If there is to be one, it will need to be publicly announced by this Thursday (Oct. 15) per committee rules of seven days notice for hearings (36 hours for markups).

Video competition isssues have been high on the radar screen of late, including the D.C. Circuit Federal Court of Appeals decision that the FCC had not taken DBS competition sufficiently under consideration when trying to justify its sub cap on cable, the recent oral argument in Cablevision vs. FCC (in the same court) over program access rules, and talks between Comcast and NBC Universal that would combine the studio and largest cable operator.

The FCC argued in in the Cablevision case that the rise in satellite TV 's fortunes, the increase in progarmming networks, and the decline in the percentage of those that are cable-owned does not undermine the decision to keep the rules in place.


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