Goto Section: 76.987 | 76.1000 | Table of Contents

FCC 76.990
Revised as of October 1, 2014
Goto Year:2013 | 2015
§ 76.990   Small cable operators.

   (a) Effective February 8, 1996, a small cable operator is exempt from
   rate regulation on its cable programming services tier, or on its basic
   service tier if that tier was the only service tier subject to rate
   regulation as of December 31, 1994, in any franchise area in which that
   operator services 50,000 or fewer subscribers.

   (b) Procedures. (1) A small cable operator, may certify in writing to
   its franchise authority at any time that it meets all criteria
   necessary to qualify as a small operator. Upon request of the local
   franchising authority, the operator shall identify in writing all of
   its affiliates that provide cable service, the total subscriber base of
   itself and each affiliate, and the aggregate gross revenues of its
   cable and non-cable affiliates. Within 90 days of receiving the
   original certification, the local franchising authority shall determine
   whether the operator qualifies for deregulation and shall notify the
   operator in writing of its decision, although this 90-day period shall
   be tolled for so long as it takes the operator to respond to a proper
   request for information by the local franchising authority. An operator
   may appeal to the Commission a local franchise authority's information
   request if the operator seeks to challenge the information request as
   unduly or unreasonably burdensome. If the local franchising authority
   finds that the operator does not qualify for deregulation, its notice
   shall state the grounds for that decision. The operator may appeal the
   local franchising authority's decision to the Commission within 30

   (2) Once the operator has certified its eligibility for deregulation on
   the basic service tier, the local franchising authority shall not
   prohibit the operator from taking a rate increase and shall not order
   the operator to make any refunds unless and until the local franchising
   authority has rejected the certification in a final order that is no
   longer subject to appeal or that the Commission has affirmed. The
   operator shall be liable for refunds for revenues gained (beyond
   revenues that could be gained under regulation) as a result of any rate
   increase taken during the period in which it claimed to be deregulated,
   plus interest, in the event the operator is later found not to be
   deregulated. The one-year limitation on refund liability will not be
   applicable during that period to ensure that the filing of an invalid
   small operator certification does not reduce any refund liability that
   the operator would otherwise incur.

   (3) Within 30 days of being served with a local franchising authority's
   notice that the local franchising authority intends to file a cable
   programming services tier rate complaint, an operator may certify to
   the local franchising authority that it meets the criteria for
   qualification as a small cable operator. This certification shall be
   filed in accordance with the cable programming services rate complaint
   procedure set forth in § 76.1402. Absent a cable programming services
   rate complaint, the operator may request a declaration of CPST rate
   deregulation from the Commission pursuant to § 76.7.

   (c) Transition from small cable operator status. If a small cable
   operator subsequently becomes ineligible for small operator status, the
   operator will become subject to regulation but may maintain the rates
   it charged prior to losing small cable operator status if such rates
   (with an allowance for minor variations) were in effect for the three
   months preceding the loss of small cable operator status. Subsequent
   rate increases following the loss of small cable operator status will
   be subject to generally applicable regulations governing rate

   Note to § 76.990: For rules governing small cable systems and small
   cable companies, see § 76.934.

   [ 64 FR 35951 , July 2, 1999]

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Subpart O--Competitive Access to Cable Programming

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Goto Section: 76.987 | 76.1000

Goto Year: 2013 | 2015
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