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Inouye urges cable rate cuts

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) has sent a letter to FCC chairman Reed Hundt urging further cuts in cable TV rates and asking that the agency ensure “reasonable” pricing for basic cable service.

The FCC is preparing to vote Feb. 22 on a plan to roll back cable rates beyond the average 10% level adopted last April.

In a Feb. 11 missive from Inouye, the influential Senate communications subcommittee chairman told Hundt “it does not appear the (FCC’s new rate regulation rules) go far enough” in carrying out the intent of Congress when it passed the 1992 Cable Act. “I would like to reiterate my concern and express my hope that the (FCC) will take additional steps” to ensure against excessive cable pricing, Inouye said.

Inouye said that while “additional fine-tuning” is needed to lower rates, the FCC must consider the negative impact further cuts would have on small cable operators. “I implore the commission to … balance these concerns in adopting revisions to its rate regulation rules,” said Inouye.

Inouye also reminded Hundt the FCC is responsible for regulating rates on the broadcast basic tier.

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